George Steinbrenner: Ranking The Boss' Five Biggest Feuds
George Steinbrenner was an ardent, stubborn businessman and owner. He built the New York Yankees into the Roman Empire of MLB, one that has far outlasted Julius Caesar.
More than anything, Steinbrenner loved his work and loved his team. Under "The Boss," the Yankees saw their best years.
If anyone disagreed with his master plan for greatness, Steinbrenner let the world know who was in charge in New York.
Many people had beefs with the revered leader of the Yanks, but only a few managed to send their disagreements to the headlines.
The following is a survey of The Boss' most heated disputes and rivalries.
5. The New York Mets/Boston Red Sox
George Steinbrenner was the king of New York for a long time. He made the Yankees a force with which to be reckoned and made sure his organization had a higher payroll than those of the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.
Although his relationships with rival teams cannot be considered feuds, they can be deemed "heated."
Steinbrenner led his organization with a ferocity most ball clubs have never witnessed.
Right or wrong, Steinbrenner was loud. Neither the Mets nor the Sox could ever match his desire to win.
4. Reggie Jackson
Reggie Jackson may have been "Mr. October," but he was not "The Boss."
Given said nickname, George Steinbrenner could say anything he wanted—and he did.
In 1981, Steinbrenner signed Dave Winfield to a 10-year, $23 million contract, but he let Jackson's contract simply fizzle.
Steinbrenner expected a lot from his top players, and Jackson was growing older. Citing a clause in Jackson's contract, Steinbrenner forced the then 35-year-old outfielder to undergo a complete physical examination.
Jackson was livid. He publicly bashed Steinbrenner for his criticism.
After the 1981 World Series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Steinbrenner let Jackson go.
The Boss later admitted losing Jackson was one of his biggest mistakes.
3. Yogi Berra
Like Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra is a Hall of Fame Yankees icon.
Although he is revered by Yankee fans, he did not much respect the organization for quite some time.
Berra coached for the Yankees from 1976-1983, a period during which the team won three pennants and two World Series. Because of his status as a sort of good luck charm, Berra became the Yankees' manager in 1984.
Although he promised Berra he would not be fired during his second year as manager, George Steinbrenner discarded the Yankee legend after 16 games in 1985.
Berra was furious. He shunned the Yankees for 15 years.
Eventually, Steinbrenner apologized to the celebrated Yankee catcher, coach and manager.
2. Billy Martin
Billy Martin was a winning coach conducive to George Steinbrenner's winning organization. He was also, however, an inflammatory and abrasive leader. Players could not endure his insanity for more than a few years at a time.
Although it seemed bizarre to fire and re-hire a man several times in the same decade, Steinbrenner's off-and-on dependence on the manager was good for the Yankees.
Under Martin, the Yanks won a World Series. Several players had their best seasons under the wild manager.
The relationship between Steinbrenner and Martin was less feud and more strategy toward the end of the 80s.
1. Dave Winfield
As stated earlier, George Steinbrenner signed Dave Winfield to a 10-year, $23 million contract in 1981.
Although Winfield put up numbers that eventually earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame, he did not win a World Series with the Yankees.
This fact annoyed Steinbrenner, who called Winfield "Mr. May."
Steinbrenner wanted to trade Winfield, but could not because of contractual stipulations.
One of these stipulations required Steinbrenner to pay $300,000 to Winfield's foundation, a sum the player said the Yankee owner refused to pay. To try to defame Winfield, Steinbrenner hired a man to dig up dirt on the outfielder—the deal turned into a huge scandal.
Then MLB commissioner Fay Vincent expelled Steinbrenner from baseball forever.
MLB allowed The Boss to come back to baseball in 1993, but he never made peace with Winfield.