Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why George Steinbrenner Should Be in the Hall of Fame

There's a big push on, you know. My buddy French is outraged. He looks only at the negatives. Twice banned from baseball -- once in 1974 for two years for a felony conviction on illegal campaign contributions, the other time in 1990 when he was suspended for life for paying a small-time gambler $40,000 to get "the dirt" on Winfield, after Winfield complained The Boss failed to deliver on a promis to give $300,000 to Winfield's foundation. What French argues is that George is best known basically for firing Billy Martin (five times) and for spending a lot of money on ball players. In his first 23 seasons, George fired managers 20 times.

But now let's look at the positives. Ronald Reagan pardoned George (all he did was make illegal contributions to Republicans, and what's wrong with that?) and the suspension "for life" lasted a mere three years, because ballball loves him so.

The real reason George belongs in the Hall of Fame is because -- yes! yes! yes! -- of all the money he spent. Underlying the money is how incompetent George is with that money. When you're spending twice as much money as most contenders -- and 10 times what the Marlins pay -- the Yanks should be winning World Series every year. But look at his record.

From the time that Ruth arrived as a gift from the Red Sox, the Yankees have been regular champions. From 1923 to 1962, the longest they went without a World Series was a mere four years. Then arrived the CBS ownership and George (in 1973)... and the Yankees went a record 15 years -- 1962 to 1977 without a World Series victory. Free agency arrived in 1975, when the big pocket book of the Yankees could really made a difference. But after titles in 1977 and 1978 -- an astonishing 18 years went by under George without a World Series title. Now, he's in the midst of a seven-year drought -- and counting. This year he's still struggling to catch up to the lowly team formerly known as the Devil Rays, which must cause great suffering, since he lives in Tampa. (Have a little sympathy!)

For George to give so much money to needy baseball players is indeed a reason to be in the Hall. He has justified today's system in which poor small market teams (Kansas City, Pittsburgh) have very little chance. If he had been competent and the Yanks had rolled to title after title, baseball probably would have to revamp. But every once in a while (think 2003) a small market team with a payroll a fraction of the Yankees) wins .. and that continues to justifiy the system. And so, for his utter incompetence to spend dollars to get titles, I hearby nominate for the Hall of Fame, George ... well, on second thought, forget it...

1 comment:

rdfrench said...

You have missed two of my crucial points:

1. That having the Yankees be successful is good for all of baseball, but

2. Steinbrenner's teams have succeeded on the field only as a result of his being kicked out of the sport. The '70s teams were put together while he was suspended after the felony conviction; the more recent dynasty of Jeter/Posada/Rivera et al was put together while he was banned for life.

Just cuz the guy is old and in poor health is no reason to put him in the Hall. The fawning over his legacy that happened during the All Star game was absurd.