Does George Steinbrenner Really Deserve To Be In The Baseball Hall Of Fame?
I was a little bit hard on New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter last week. I said the Yanks should not resign the former All-Pro player because he’s, well, a former All-Pro player and could end up hurting the team in the long run if they can’t work out a deal that works for both sides.
But even with all of that said (and with the revelation that I am a New York Mets fan—what? Did I not mention that last week?), I will still admit one thing about Jeter: He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Nothing should keep him out.
I think the same thing about former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Despite the fact that I hated him prior to his death in July, it’s hard for me—even as a Mets fan—to say he shouldn’t be inducted into the Hall now that it’s been announced his name’s been added to the Hall of Fame veterans committee ballot. Here are a few reasons why:
1. He made rooting for AND against the Yankees fun.
As much as I enjoyed seeing the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants get to the World Series this year, I have to admit watching two teams I don’t care all that much about wasn’t all that exciting. When the Yankees make the World Series, whether you’re rooting for them or against them, you’re guaranteed to have a good time watching them play. That’s a sentiment Steinbrenner helped build up over time.
2. He built the Yankees from the ground up.
By now, you probably already know the story. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for about $10 million and turned them into a billion-dollar franchise. You can’t deny the fact the man knew what he was doing when it came to running a pro-sports franchise.
3. He spared no expense to field the best team possible.
You have to spend money to make money. And Steinbrenner spent plenty of money over the years. But he proved you can spend a lot of money and still make a lot of it, too. He also showed those of us who hate the Yankees you can’t always buy your way into the World Series. And, man, did that feel good!
4. He was an icon.
When you think about the Yankees, you might think about Derek Jeter, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle or Lou Gehrig. I think about Steinbrenner. He was the face of the franchise and he never stepped foot onto the baseball diamond to play the sport. Whether he was up in his booth or standing down on the field doing an interview, he commanded respect and attention. When you looked at Steinbrenner, you knew you were looking at a guy who did a lot for the sport of baseball. There’s a reason they call him the “Boss.”
5. He did it all in New York City.
The Big Apple is notoriously hard on athletes and the professional sports teams that they play for. Everything is a dramatic story and everyone is put under tremendous amounts of pressure. In the face of all that, Steinbrenner ran a team that included classy players and represented the city well. Did they take their fair share of criticism? Of course. But Steinbrenner made the necessary changes to keep them relevant over the years.
For all that, he deserves to be recognized. Enjoy the Hall, Boss.