George Steinbrenner, whose big wallet and win at all cost attitude, turned the Yankees organization into a baseball power. Steinbrenner had just celebrated his 80th birthday this month. Steinbrenner was known as the boss and make no mistake he was the boss of the Yankees. Love him or loathe him he built the Yankees into champions, that you can't deny. In 37-plus seasons as owner, Steinbrenner led the Yankees to seven World Series championships, 11 American League pennants and 16 AL East titles.
Steinbrenner was known for his famous clashes with numerous Yankee managers, most famously his clashes with Billy Martin. He oversaw the Yankee dynasty with an iron fist. It was said he ruled with obsessive dedication to detail, overseeing everything from trades to the airblowers that kept his ballparks spotless. He admittedly was overbearing, screaming at all from commissioners to managers to secretaries. Through all of these clashes Steinbrenner made sure the Yankee product on the field was the best money could buy.
Some people feel George Steinbrenner represented everything that is wrong and unfair in baseball. The Yankees paid $26 million in luxury tax for excess payroll for the 2009 season. The Yankees 2010 payroll exceeds $200 million, the only team to cross that threshold. The next closest is the Boston Red Sox at $162 million, a full $44 million less than the Yankees. The lowest team payroll is the Pittsburgh Pirates at $34 million, that is only $8 million more in total payroll than the Yankees paid in the luxury tax! Many owners complain the Yankees have made the playing field uneven due to this payroll disparity. I for one feel you can't penalize someone like George Steinbrenner who has the passion and means to put a $200 million dollar team on the field. The baseball world lost a pioneer today in Steinbrenner's passing.