Irwin Winkler and Richard Gere two of Hollywood’s biggest names know a lot about show business. They know a lot about the business of Hollywood and making films. They also know a lot about the value of the producers of films and how they become as valuable as the star that they have contracted in the film, as is the case of Academy award winning producer Irwin Winkler. Irwin won the award for Rocky in 1977 and has produced some of the biggest films of all time including Raging Bull and Goodfellas.
Richard Gere on the other hand has been one of Hollywood’s all time leading man. He has been a throw back to the era of Gary Cooper and Clark Gable. He has stared in some of the biggest films of the last 40 years, including An Officer and a Gentleman and Pretty Woman.
I have had the honor of associating and in the case of Richard Gere, being super close friends.
Through Richard I got to understand how the business of Hollywood really works and how it’s not that different from baseball.
I have known Richard ever since I got to work with him in the film ‘The Cotton Club.’
The Cotton Club was Directed by Academy Award winner Francis Ford Coppola. Again I got to see genius at work.
Through the years Gere would tell me or point out to me that there is no difference in what these producers and directors do as opposed to what a very visible baseball
owner or General manager does.
I guess you know by now that I’m referring to George Steinbrenner.
Irwin Winkler told me just a week ago that he really felt that Steinbrenner had not only been great for baseball but for sports as a whole. I asked him the question that everyone is asking right now, Does Steinbrenner belong in the Hall of Fame? At that moment he looked me in the eyes and shook his head and asked me ‘Why isn’t he already in. Didn’t he do enough to help the sport when it needed it most? Didn’t he help people that he didn’t even know? He finally closed by saying ‘You more than most knows that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Richard who now is in London doing what he does best, his film work had this to say about the Boss…
The Yankees have always been baseball to me.
Who has meant more to baseball than George Steinbrenner as an owner? He was more of a Yankee than most of the players. He became a complete baseball guy who flew by instinct and the seat of his pants.
Passionate and flamboyant yet to the people that knew him best or knew him in unusual situations…Very Bighearted!
On December 8th the Hall of Fame will be announcing if the Boss or Lou Piniella or some others get selected by a 16 man committee.
I will only say that I think that the Boss getting into the hall would be great for baseball and it will be great for the fans. Especially the new generation of fans that will get a clearer picture of the man known as the Boss. A man who treated the average Joe special or made the kid in the streets feel like they could be SOMEONE!