Las Vegas-The Baseball Winter Meetings are supposed to begin with more rumors and speculation but Sunday night as executives of teams assembled at the Mandalay Bay Casino on the strip the talk again was the Hall of Fame.
For George Steinbrenner the Hall of Fame again will not be a part of his legacy for now. The late Yankees owner was denied enshrinement again. The third time was not a charm according to a 16-person board, ‘Today’s Game Era Committee,’ made up of current Hall of Famers, executives, and baseball historians.
“It’s not fair, why did they do this to him again,” the words of NYorksportsday.com. columnist Ray Negron, the well known and chronicled Yankees’ bat boy who Steinbrenner rescued as a troubled youngster in the Bronx. Negron was a loud voice in this latest attempt to see his “Boss” get enshrined with the legends of baseball.
Cry or not, George Steinbrenner had the credentials. He revived the Yankees into a revenue machine that evolved the sport and took the game of baseball to a different era. He also had the enemies and the Yankees became the “Evil Empire.”
So why was George Steinbrenner denied the highest honor? He wasn’t an angel, and to many not all the time. Indictments of illegal campaign contributions, conspiring to make Dave Winfield the enemy, suspended by Major league Baseball for severe infractions. Steinbrenner was a so called “dictator” as an employer, and that had employees walking on egg shells for a man who came to be known as “the Boss.”
Perhaps those were some of the deciding factors that kept George Steinbrenner out of the Hall this time. That leaves one huge honor at the cathedral of a new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. A huge portrait of “The Boss” is evident out in the right center field bleacher area in the “Cathedral” he built for the fans.
But, despite the flaws and debates about an owner not belonging in the Hall up in Cooperstown, there are the positives about George Steinbrenner.
Every crosstown Mets fan can relate to that word “Win” and that mandate for every Yankees’ team under George Steinbrenner’s watch. Winning to “The Boss” was about adding to the tradition, even if it was the only thing on his mind. In other words, spending money, opening the revenue streams and other owners took notice as they saw that it could work.
“It’s not fair, not fair,” That was all Ray Negron could say. He may be correct in this not being the proper statement to honor a baseball owner that made a difference. However, the criteria that goes into the voting process and a whole bunch of other things are left for another day.
Hall of Fame and the vote is always a subject to debate. Leave that to those who get to vote and determine who is in and who is not.
However, this one they got wrong, and George Steinbrenner has again been denied a most deserved honor. Adding fuel to the fire is the thought, and this is justified, that George Steinbrenner made an impact and more than any other owner in professional sports.
That impact lives on today, all you have to do is ask Ray Negron. His tears are not with sorrow but of joy. In the Baseball Hall of Fame, George Steinbrenner won’t have that honor but the impact he had on others was Hall of Fame.
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