George Steinbrenner Dies: His 10 Best Managers as Yankees Owner
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has died in Tampa, Florida at the age of 80.
Though one of the most despised, controversial, and notorious owners in the long history of Major League Baseball, Steinbrenner must also be remembered as one of the greats, a giant amongst men.
During Steinbrenner's tenure, the Yankees captured 11 pennants and seven World Series championships. The Yanks also produced a cornucopia of All Stars, and more than a few Hall of Famers.
Amongst the Yankees many accomplishments during the Steinbrenner Era, the team also had a shocking number of managers.
Here are the Top Ten Yankees Managers of the Steinbrenner Era.
10. Yogi Berra (1984-1985)
New York Yankees icon and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra led the Yanks to a winning record in 1984, 87-75, but after a 6-10 start to the 1985 season, he got the axe.
9. Bill Virdon (1974-1975)
Bill Virdon was the first manager hired by George Steinbrenner, taking over the team in 1974.
He would be fired 104 games into the 1975 season, with the Yankees 53-51.
His career record with the team was 142-124 (.534).
8. Gene Michael (1981, 1982)
Gene Michael spent most of his post-playing days with the Yankees as general manager, building the Yankees dynasty of the 1990's by drafting, signing, or trading for Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Paul O'Neill amongst others.
Michael was also the Yankees manager for parts of 1981 and 1982, in two separate tenures.
It should be pointed out that Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball and barred from any baseball related activities during the time that Michael built the Yankees into a dynasty.
7. Lou Piniella (1986-1987, 1988)
Lou Piniella was playing for the Yankees in 1984 and two years later was their manager.
He managed the team from 1986-1987, and then took over as general manager in 1988, returning to the dugout after Billy Martin was fired.
He was fired as both manager and general manager after the 1988 season.
"Sweet Lou" finished with a 224-193 record as Yankees manager.
6. Dick Howser (1978, 1980)
Dick Howser managed the team for one game in 1978 in between Billy Martin and Bob Lemon, then got a whole season to himself in 1980.
The Yankees went 103-59 that season, but lost in the ALCS to the Kansas City Royals, and Steinbrenner fired him.
5. Buck Showalter (1992-1995)
It was Buck Showalter, seen here with Yankees employee George Costanza, that led the Yankees out of the desert in 1995, taking them to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.
After Showalter's team lost in the first round of the playoffs, Steinbrenner fired him and replaced him with Joe Torre, thus beginning the Yankees dynasty of the late-1990's.
Showalter's record with the Yankees was 313-268 (.539).
4. Joe Girardi (2008-present)
Former Yankees catcher and coach, Girardi was the heir apparent to Joe Torre for many years, even when he was managing the Florida Marlins.
After leading the Yankees to miss the playoffs for the first time in 13 years in 2008, Girardi led them to their first World Series title in nine years in 2009.
3. Bob Lemon (1978-1979, 1981)
Bob Lemon took over for Billy Martin, by way of Dick Howser for one game, and led the Yankees to a 48-20 record over the last 68 games of the season and a World Series title in 1978.
Lemon moved to the front office after getting the Yankees off to a 34-31 start the following year, returning again at the end of the 1981 season to lead the Yankees to the World Series, which they lost.
Lemon's career record with the Yankees was 99-73 with two World Series appearances and one win.
2. Billy Martin (1975-1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1988)
Martin's career record with the Yankees was 556-385 (.591), with two pennants and a World Series title.
So he must have enjoyed a nice, long tenure with the Yankees, right?
What he enjoyed was one of the most notorious manager-owner relationships in sports history, one which saw Martin fired five times.
Martin was preparing for his sixth stint as Yankees manager when he died suddenly on Christmas day in 1989.
1. Joe Torre (1996-2007)
Joe Torre, of course, is one of the greatest managers of all time and enjoyed being at the helm of one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1996-2000 New York Yankees.
Even Torre was not immune to Steinbrenner's whims, however, and for the last several years in the Bronx Torre was on the hot-seat despite repeatedly making the playoffs.