When news broke Tuesday morning that Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner had passed, predictably I got a few texts from friends asking if I was planning on writing about “The Boss.”

At first I hesitated. Too much had happened before I was even born. I had never met him in person. What perspective could I possibly give that a million other writers couldn’t?

Then I really started to think about George. I thought about the way he ran his organization with the iron fist of a South American dictator. I thought about the way he controlled every word that came in and out his clubhouse like the Russians controlled information during the Cold War. I thought about the way he struck fear into multi-millionaire ballplayers and fired managers like they were clerks at CVS. I thought about the way he was equal parts loathed, feared, and respected by fans of the opposition.

I really started to think about how there might be a million more Mark Cuban’s in my lifetime. But there will never be anyone quite like George.

Now if you’re looking for me to give perspective on the old-school, tyrannical, terrifying, trust no one, fire everyone Steinbrenner of the 1980’s and early 1990’s you’ll have to go somewhere else. By the time I got to know him as a fan, he was coming off his second suspension from baseball and was a more mellowed, subdued guy, at least in some regards.

But make no mistake, he was still “The Boss.” Even in his advanced age, there was never a doubt who the alpha dog with the Yankees—or in baseball for that matter—was. It was always Big George.

(Because of length, this is only PART of Aaron’s article. To read the rest, please visit www.aarontorres-sports.com )

As a Red Sox fan growing up in Steinbrenner’s world, he was more terrifying than any player, coach, team, or organization of my youth. He was an almost mythical figure, rarely seen, but always heard from, and, much like the Godfather, someone who could always get things done. Steinbrenner wasn’t just an owner but was the scariest kind, one with lots of money who wasn’t afraid to spend it.

During his heyday (and basically every day), Steinbrenner was like a 16-year-old girl with her father’s credit card at the mall. If he saw something he wanted, he went and got it. No trade was impossible for the Yankees. No free agent splurge too outlandish. If his team was struggling during the season, you always knew he’d put pressure on someone to do something to make the squad better. There was nothing he wasn’t capable of.

Because of that “fear no one, crush everyone” attitude, Steinbrenner was at the controls of the most dominant sports organization of my youth. Not only did fans of other teams know their teams weren’t beating the Yankees, but I also always got the sense that opposing players knew too. I remember watching the 1998 World Series when the Yankees played the Padres. After eight innings of Game One, you could see in the Padres’ eyes that they knew they were toast, and sure enough, they were swept three games later.

Nobody beat the Yankees in the late 1990’s, and like I said, it was more because of Steinbrenner than because of any one player.

And it was that burning, win-at-all-costs passion that made The Boss the best owner of my lifetime.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and his comments regarding LeBron James leaving his team. But with the death of Steinbrenner yesterday, it’s all kind of worth repeating:

While I thought Gilbert’s comments about LeBron were crass and a bit over the top, they also gave me a newfound respect for the guy. At the end of the day, Gilbert stood up to a superstar and stood behind his fans and remaining players. He made his point clear, that LeBron James wasn’t bigger than his organization, and promised that he’d continue to do whatever it took to put a championship-caliber team on the court. Good for him.

Steinbrenner was like that…times 45,000.

Again, as a Red Sox fan growing up in the late 1990’s, watching the Yankees pile up championships was terrifying, frustrating, and angering, and it was probably just the same for every Braves, Mets and White Sox fan too. We didn’t just despise Steinbrenner. We hated him.

At the same time, how could you not respect him?…

(Because of length, this is just PART of Aaron’s article on George Steinbrenner. To read the remainder, please CLICK HERE or visit him at www.aarontorres-sports.com .

Also, for his take on all things sports, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres )

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