By Aris Sakellaridis
Losing my homeboy Hank was a total devastating blow. To the sports world he was the Co-Chairperson of the New York Yankees, but to me he was simply my “homie.”
I’m going to miss the wiffle ball games that always got intense. I’m going to miss the bullpen sessions he threw to me, but certainly not the black and blues he created with his errant throws. I’m going to miss the sparring sessions that led to our creative cursing matches, whenever he accidentally clocked me in my face. I’ll also miss his mother-in-law Jean, who would watch us compete like two little kids, before forming a loving smile.
Most of all I’m going to miss that German Gent, who I would label “King Henry” on some days and “Hank the Hunk” during other times. When I received the news of his death it hit me like one of his body blows, when he was lucky enough to connect his glove to my ribs. I would constantly tease him about the magnitude he possessed and the genius of his mind whenever it came to any subject that was thrown his way.
The disagreements and debates that we had were like verbal sparring matches. Whether it be our musical tastes of my love of R&B vs his fondness of Rock, or my argument of having Prince in the top 10 guitarists list, while he laughed at my thought. We always agreed to disagree.
What about when we would take it back to the Bronx and I would break down to him why 9-year contracts never work out. He would come back with the line, “Well this one will!,” or my suggestion of tabbing Mr. October as your “Power Hitting Coach,” since you’re creating all these new titles, he would come back with, “My experts decide that.”
The thought that we’ll never do that stuff again just sickens me to the core, but the memories that were created from my hanging with Hank will eventually light up that bulb inside of me that went dim. Thank you for letting me into your life. I’m going to miss you, man!
To his great kids. Jacqueline, you were his princess, Julia, you were his jewel, George Michael, you could do no wrong in whatever you chose to do, and John, you were his warrior, your daddy loved you unconditionally. To his granddaughter Anabel, you were his true angel.
May you rest in peace Henry G. Steinbrenner, until we meet again, and once we do I’ll make you come out to play once again.