Vote George Steinbrenner...for the Hall of Fame?

Ryan SmithCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Owner George Steinbrenner (R) is seen on the jumbotron during an opening day ceremony at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

George Steinbrenner is one of the most controversial people in baseball.

Since purchasing the Yankees in 1973, the Yanks have won six World Series and 10 pennants.

He's brought many great players to the Yankees, and they're usually overpriced.

He instituted the Yankees' famous grooming policy. 

He paid a gambler to find “dirt” on Dave Winfield, one of his own players!

He was banned from baseball, reinstated back into baseball, and suspended from baseball.

He was also indicted on 14 criminal charges in 1974. He pleaded guilty to making illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon’s campaign for re-election.    

His achievements are overshadowed by his faults, which are broadcast across the country and remembered forever.

Oh, and by the way, he'll be eligible for the Hall of Fame soon.

It is stated in the Hall of Fame Election Rules under the section about Veterans Committee election, paragraph six:

A. Baseball Executives and/or Managers and/or Umpires who have been retired from organized Baseball as Baseball Executives and/or Managers and/or Umpires for at least five (5) years prior to the election. If the candidate is 65 years old at the time of retirement, the waiting period is reduced to six (6) months. If the candidate reaches the age of 65 during the five-year waiting period the candidate becomes eligible six months after the candidate's 65th birthday.

“B. Those whose careers entailed involvement as both players and managers/executives/umpires will be considered for their overall contribution to the game of Baseball; however, the specific category in which such individuals shall be considered will be determined by the role in which they were most prominent. In those instances when a candidate is prominent as both a player and as a manager, executive or umpire, the BBWAA Screening Committee shall determine that individual's candidacy as either a player (Players Ballot), or as a manager, executive or umpire (Composite Ballot). Candidates may only appear on one ballot per election. Those designated as players must fulfill the requirements of 6 (A).”

Steinbrenner turns 79 tomorrow, thus making him eligible six months after his retirement. He retired last year and will be eligible for the next “Executives Ballot.”

He may not make it on the first shot (many don’t), but he may make it in a few years.

As stated above, Steinbrenner had a controversial influence on baseball.

Statistically, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He has built up a Yankees dynasty that will remain a threat for years to come.

Let’s face it, baseball would be different if it weren’t for him. (Who knows if it would’ve been better or worse?)

If Steinbrenner joins the Hall of Fame, he won’t be the first controversial Cooperstown resident.

Charlie Comiskey was called cheap, hateful, and stingy. He was hated among his players. He even made them do their own laundry.

He promised Eddie Cicotte a bonus of $10,000 if Cicotte won 30 games during the 1919 season. Once Cicotte was close to 30 wins, Comiskey benched him. He finished with 29 wins. (Cicotte felt cheated and was a member of the Black Sox scandal.)

Ty Cobb was another controversial player. He was a racist who assaulted an African-American groundskeeper and his wife. He also attacked an elevator operator and another employee at a hotel.

Reggie Jackson, who was a good friend of Steinbrenner, was involved in many incidents during his time in New York. Most of the controversies involved manager Billy Martin.

Rogers Hornsby, who is regarded as one of the greatest right-handed batters of all time, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He was also a gambler. It was said he was even meaner than Cobb.

Steinbrenner turned baseball into a business. He didn’t ruin the integrity of the sport or anything; he just tried to make money off America’s favorite pastime.

He’s not the only one. Sponsorships are everywhere in baseball nowadays. (Pretty soon, an inning is going to be “brought to you by” some big-time corporation.) 

Steinbrenner helped revolutionize the business of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights.

He also turned the Yankees from a $10 million franchise into a $1.2 billion franchise.

If Steinbrenner becomes a Hall of Famer, he will be the most controversial member of Cooperstown.

If he makes it, maybe Bud Selig has a shot.