Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Steinbrenner Biographer Identifies Boss' Quirks

There was no way to avoid the George Steinbrenner news on TV today, but all-in-all, some very good television produced by all the networks here in Tampa Bay.

For all the controversy The Boss created at the MLB level, he did nothing but good for the Tampa Bay community. He donated millions of millions of dollars to dozens and dozens of causes.

“In Tampa, there wasn't a more influential person - in the entire city - than George Steinbrenner,” biographer Peter Golenbock told me today. “Anytime anyone wanted something done, the first thing somebody would say is, 'Go see George.' "

You can read more of our story with the author of "George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire" here.

Golenbock doesn't present the most flattering look at Steinbrenner's personality, but he does reveal a number of the character quirks that explain some of his most notable outbursts.

"He was a perfectionist and he wanted the people working for him to be a perfectionists,” he said of Steinbrenner’s hands-on ownership approach.

As for The Boss' disregard for limiting payroll, Golenbock said "he was a monopolist...playing fair was not part of his makeup. He really wanted to crush everybody else."

I also got the chance to discuss Steinbrenner's role in the stadium debates. He pushed for (and got) a brand-new spring training home in Tampa, then last year's new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

"If the original Yankee Stadium was the 'House that Ruth Built,'" said Golenbock, "the new Yankee Stadium is the 'House that George Built.'"

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