Tuesday, July 13, 2010

RIP: George Steinbrenner

I can say with all of my heart that I hated George Steinbrenner. Really, I did! He was an over-bearing loud mouth who operating the Yankees like a dictator bent on winning at all cost. And win he did.

His Yankee teams were the epitome of World Championship Baseball. They won plenty of crowns and I hated George for it.

So, yes, I was envious of his Yankees and, I think, that is the kindest thing a fan of an opposing team can say about the matter. After all, his success fueled our hatred, and I think Steinbrenner wouldn't have it any other way.

RIP George. I am sure Billy Martin is standing at those pearly gates right now with a beer in one hand and his mouth ready to argue with Saint Peter on your behalf.

UPDATE: Here are some quotes from the Dodgers:
  • “George was a friend who I admired very much. He was a giant in our game and he built an empire. All he was was a winner. He wanted to give the fans a winner, and that's exactly what he did.”- Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda

  • “I will always remember George Steinbrenner as a passionate man, a tough boss, a true visionary, a great humanitarian and a dear friend. I will be forever grateful that he trusted me with his Yankees for 12 years. My heart goes out to his entire family. He will be deeply missed in New York , Tampa and throughout the world of baseball. It’s only fitting that he went out as a world champ.”– Dodger Manager Joe Torre

  • “I am deeply saddened to hear the news of George Steinbrenner’s passing. His vision, passion and commitment to winning, recharged the New York Yankees and revolutionized the game.

    I remember a man driven to succeed. He was the owner, “The Boss” and number one fan of the Yankees. Our relationship was built on mutual respect. I will never forget and always be grateful for how he treated me and my family both during my playing days and after I retired.

    I will miss him very much and extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Joan, and all the members of the Steinbrenner family.”– Dodger Hitting Coach Don Mattingly

  • “George Steinbrenner was the first owner to contact me to congratulate me when I purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers. From that day forward we built a strong and meaningful friendship. He was a larger than life owner who cared deeply about winning. George helped shape the game of baseball during his incredible stewardship of the Yankees. My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, Joan and his four children, Hal, Hank, Jennifer and Jessica and the entire Steinbrenner family.”– Dodger Owner Frank McCourt

Heritage Auctions: Baseball Ribbons

This is one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. Back in the day, the late 1800's, Baseball custom and pageantry was very different than today. Ball players wore more ornate uniforms with collars and bibs, teams were given painted trophy balls after matches, and they exchanged little ribbons before matches. Above is one of the finest examples of a collection of 62 19th Century Baseball Ribbons recently found in a attic that I have ever seen. Now, what was the purpose of these ribbons? I'll let the auction description tell the story.
"One or two of the customs of the old game were unique. Such for instance was the habit of the better class of clubs of exchanging, just before each match, silk badges imprinted with the club name. The players wore those accumulated trophies pinned upon the breast, sometimes with startling color effects; and the baseball man was proud, indeed, who could pin on the outside of his deep strata of badges a ribbon from the mighty Atlantics, Mutuals or Eckfords, attesting his worth for meeting giants, if not mastering them."
This collection includes the teams indicated above, as well as, many obscure clubs. It is believed these ribbons belonged to former 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings secondbaseman Charlie Sweasy. A better view of the ribbons is below. Click on any of the pics to enlarge.

As the auction description aptly points out, there is a great book yet be written about this item. I can imagine a Baseball historian using it as a springboard to discovering these ancient Baseball clubs and their stories.

ThinkCure! Comments

This past Friday I ran across a disturbing article in the NY Times regarding a Dodger charity called the Dodger Dream Foundation. I posted the article along with some brief comments about it then. As I had briefly noted on Friday, multiple charities even within a singular organization like the Dodgers are not one and the same. It is my understanding that ThinkCure! is not run by the same folks who ran the Dodger Dream Foundation. Understandably, there is confusion. I imagine that many donors are unhappy about what has transpired and fear that ThinkCure!, a charity many Dodger fans have donated to, may be involved with or stained by DDF. In light of what has been discovered, I received the following communication from the Sarah Gallagher- Director of ThinkCure!
I saw your post on the recent LA Times article about DDF. I wanted to say thanks for clarifying that ThinkCure is separate from DDF, and also wanted to give you some additional info about the makeup of the staff here at ThinkCure.

We have a staff of 3 whose salaries are paid by the initial McCourt endowment (so donations go towards the cause, not to our salaries). No other salaries are paid to anyone else, and our board is made up of doctors and executives from City of Hope and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, in addition to the McCourt members.

eBay: A Dodger Bank

Here is a great early vintage Los Angeles Dodgers coin bank from 1958. It is a plastic Baseball with facsimile autographs of Ransom Jackson, Al Walker, Johnny Podres, Carl Furillo, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Jim Gilliam, Walter Alston, Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese emblazoned on it.