We’ve debated this on the Banter I think, but the Boss is in so many ways an objectionable person (as well as being a felon!) The Yankees have won 7 Word Series during his ownership, which is impressive. However, we’re both aware that Gene Michael and Showalter could only act freely once Steinbrenner had been banned..
I know you think he deserves to be in the HOF but I have doubts..should owners really be allowed in there anyways?
I’d never suggest that Steinbrenner was perfect, but I really believe his virtues outweighed his vices. I don’t put much stock in the felony conviction because everything I’ve read to date seems to suggest that Steinbrenner was almost extorted into making the illegal campaign contribution. Steinbrenner’s one great mark against him is that he could be a bully, which is not an admirable trait in anyone. However, I am not talking about the way he would handle his managers or other baseball/business executives. All of those guys live in a shark tank, so I am not too concerned by George happening to have the sharpest teeth. Instead, where George would often go wrong is when he would unleash his temper on lower level employees, or his family, and there are more than a few stories about that. Of course, the tales of George’s charitable side are much greater, so ultimately you have to weigh the balance.
As a baseball man, I don’t think Steinbrenner’s influence can be denied. He not only restored the Yankee brand, but he also showed baseball owners that they could be successful. When he bought the Yankees, MLB was a stale and eroding business because owners were too busy worrying about fighting the players instead of promoting and growing the game. It took someone like Steinbrenner to really shake things up. Otherwise, I truly believe the game would not enjoy the success that it does today. Every time someone laments that Steinbrenner, Marvin Miller, free agency, et al., ruined baseball, I laugh because I know they don’t know the history of the game.
As for the Hall of Fame, yes, I think Steinbrenner should be a slam dunk. Like him or not, his imprint on the game was significant. Several owners and executives have already been enshrined, so there is plenty of precedent for someone like George.