George Steinbrenner: The New York Yankees Bully Who Fired and Lied

Harold FriendChief Writer IDecember 15, 2011

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  The George M. Steinbrenner High School Band plays just prior to the start of the Grapefruit League Spring Training Game between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

George Steinbrenner was a bully.

Rae Shmerler was a secretary who worked for the New York YankeesMr. Steinbrenner told her to order a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat bread for him.

Shmerler complied with her boss's request. The sandwich was brought to her desk, but because the office was so hectic, she forgot to give it to the New York Yankees' owner.

Mr. Steinbrenner fired her on the spot, screaming "Get the hell out of here."

According to Peter Golenbock, who has written some respected baseball books as well as the infamous 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, an employee sued Mr. Steinbrenner because he allegedly wanted to go to bed with her. She settled out of court for $10,000.

It didn't matter if one were a secretary or the Yankees' general manager.

When Mr. Steinbrenner wanted to trade young Ron Guidry, general manager Gabe Paul threatened to quit. The "Boss" reluctantly relented.

When Reggie Jackson and manager BIlly Martin almost came to blows in Boston on national television, it was Paul who convinced Mr. Steinbrenner to retain Martin.

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Mr. Steinbrenner resented Paul because he knew that he needed him and, unlike Mr. Steinbrenner,  Paul was one of the greatest evaluators of baseball talent ever. 

Paul made the trades that brought Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Bucky Dent, Lou Piniella, Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa to the team that Mr. Steinbrenner claimed as his own.

Following the Jackson-Martin altercation, Mr Steinbrenner, behind Paul's back, told anyone who would listen that it was he, not Paul, who made the decision to retain Martin as manager.

When Paul discovered Mr. Steinbrenner's lies, he quit.

The team that Paul had built was good enough to repeat as world champions in 1978, but with Mr. Steinbrenner calling the shots, the Yankees didn't win a single pennant during the 1980s.

It wasn't until Mr. Steinbrenner was suspended in 1990 that Gene Michael, Bob Watson and others were free to build a contender.