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(Since Oct. 7, 1999)


Bob Andelman Articles Archive

George Steinbrenner

Profile By Bob Andelman

(Originally published in the Maddux Report, 1989)

For the Bay area media, a day without a story about George Steinbrenner is like a day without light.

The presence of the New York Yankees owner as a Tampa resident and businessman looms large over local baseball efforts: Will he support the Bay area when the expansion committee finally meets to decide which cities will be awarded new teams? wonder St. Petersburg officials. (He told Tampa Tribune Sports Writer Joe Henderson, "I am in a position to have a say in who gets a franchise, but when that time comes to vote I can say only that I will do what is best for baseball. If the Tampa Bay area is determined to be one of the best spots, I will vote accordingly.")

Additional questions of regional interest: Will he move the Yankees spring training camp to Tampa from Ft. Lauderdale? Will he support the Sports-Plex proposal for southern Hillsborough County?
His interests go beyond sports, of course. Steinbrenner is the principal owner and chief operating officer of Tampa-based American Ship Building Company. The company has hit on hard times of late; on the same day sports sections announced his dumping of Yankees manager Dallas Green this summer, the business section headlines read "American Ship reports big loss." Steinbrenner has not been deterred, however, accepting Am Ship stock in lieu of his $135,000 salary for the second consecutive year and promising he'd become even more of a hands-on owner than in the past.

Steinbrenner made the business pages in a new way a month earlier when city officials voted unanimously to give him and Tampa businessman Ron Moore a chance to develop a $78 million, 600-room hotel adjacent to the new Tampa Convention Center. Rumors swirled for months that developer Donald Trump would be an investor in the hotel, but there has been no evidence to date of his involvement.
Because of his national notoriety, Steinbrenner brings a great deal of attention to Tampa Bay. When he speaks publicly, a Tampa dateline frequently flashes across the country.

Sometimes it can backfire, as in January when outgoing President Ronald Reagan pardoned him for illegal contributions to Richard Nixon's 1972 presidential campaign. Stories appeared coast-to-coast, questioning the pardon and rehashing the details of one of Steinbrenner's darker moments. And an extensive profile in Tampa Bay Life titled "St. George or The Dragon?" by Robert A. Casterline questioned whether any number of quietly accomplished ne'er-do-well acts can balance a career of nastiness in personnel matters.

Steinbrenner's penchant for firing employees he has given pink slips to 17 baseball managers has made him none too popular in certain quarters. And because he has sworn the Yankees will never be sold while he is alive, the television program "Saturday Night Live" "as a public service" has begun a George Steinbrenner Health Watch. In a live report from outside the "Tampa Bay Yacht Club," actor Phil Hartman reviews Steinbrenner's status. "I understand his eyelids fluttered," says Dennis Miller in the SNL news studio. "Any cause for concern?" "Just a bad dream, Dennis," laments Hartman. "No cause for optimism."

©2000, All rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced without the express written permission of the author.






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