Tag: Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson: Arrogance, Anger and Class

The New York Yankees trailed the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 at Dodgers Stadium in the top of the ninth inning. It was the second game of the 1978 World Series.

Bucky Dent led off with a single to left field against left-handed relief pitcher Terry Forster. Roy White then hit a dribbler that the somewhat rotund Forster fielded and threw to first for the out, moving Dent to second. It was a good or bad as a sacrifice.

Paul Blair, who had pinch-hit for left-handed hitting Gary Thomasson, drew a walk to put the potential tying and winning runs on base. That was all for Forster.

Young fire-balling right-hander Bob Welch came in to face Thurman Munson. All Munson could manage was a fly ball to right field that Reggie Smith caught for the second out.

When he first joined the Yankees, Reggie Jackson informed the world that “It all flows from me. I’m the straw that stirs the drink. Munson thinks he can be the straw that stirs the drink, but he can only stir it bad.”

Jackson, who had driven in all of the Yankees’ runs, stepped into the batter’s box.

Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was going against the “book” by having Welch face the left-handed hitting Jackson. Lasorda knew what he was doing.

Welch peered in to get the signal from Steve Yeager. It wasn’t necessary because everyone knew that Welch would throw only fastballs.

Jackson worked the count full. Welch delivered. Jackson fouled it off. Welch delivered. Jackson again fouled it off.

Welch went into the stretch one more time as the runners took their leads. They would again be off with the pitch.

As Welch delivered another blazing fast ball, Jackson was distracted by the runners in motion. It was just enough to cost him dearly as he swung and missed the high fast ball to end the game.

Jackson angrily turned around as the game ended. As he reached the dugout, he threw his bat, which shattered against the dugout wall.

After the game, Reggie, always class, had calmed down.

“I got beat, that’s all.”

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Pedro Martinez’s Colored Gloves and the 25 Greatest Accessories in MLB History

Baseball has always been a sport based mainly upon tradition. People fear change, and Major League Baseball is no different.

Nearly everything you see on this list comes from the past 35 years or so. Prior to that time, there was little room for individuality in the game. It was about tradition and the team. Players weren’t supposed to bring any added attention to themselves except from their play on the field.

These accessories come in several different categories including equipment, style and habits. Players have been allowed to express their personalities and their individuality during this recent 35 year time frame.

I may have missed something, so if that’s the case please share.

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World Series 2010: Power Ranking the Top 40 Hitters in World Series History

With the World Series wrapped up and the Giants taking home baseball’s ultimate prize, now is a good time to look back at some of the best performers in the history of the Fall Classic.

Some of the best players in baseball history were either ineffective when it mattered most or never got the chance to play in the World Series. While at the same time, one of the most memorable moments in baseball history was given to us by a light-hitting second baseman named Bill Mazeroski.

So without further ado, here are the 40 greatest hitters in the history of the World Series.

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World Series: The Fall Classic’s 10 Greatest Moments

Of course we could all speculate on the greatest moments in World Series history.

But as you will see, I’ve taken moments from many different eras and tried to compile what I believe to be some of the World Series’ greatest moments.

Some may surprise you, and others were probably forgotten about.

Let’s take a look.

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George Steinbrenner: Two Reasons His Monument Is Appropriate

This past Monday, the New York Yankees unveiled the largest plaque ever displayed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, a seven-by-five-foot, 760-pound monument dedicated to the Yankees long-time owner, George Steinbrenner, towers over the plaques dedicated to Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Joe DiMaggio.

Some people believe that the monument is too large. Others believe that the plaque is appropriate.

Given Steinbrenner‘s impact on the Yankee brand, its size is justified for the larger-than-life Yankee owner, and here are two reasons why.

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New York Yankees: This Needs To Be The Year George’s Team Wins

In one line I will say this: Anything but a World Series in the year of the loss of George M. Steinbrenner, would be a disappointment. 

The best and highest paid team in baseball needs to be motivated after tonight’s emotional memorial for George Steinbrenner. Watching the memorial I saw a man standing at the right field foul pole with a sign saying, “Win one for The Boss.” I know it is easier said than done to win a World Series, but a repeat for The Boss would even make rival managers melt down in tears. 

The Yankees and the Rays meet today and it also brings a question to mind: Is it more important to play the Twins in the divisional series by winning the wild card? The Twins are a team the Yankees don’t find trouble with in the playoffs, or the other scenario is this: the Yankees could go all out and win the American League East. This meaning that they would play arguably the best team in baseball, the Texas Rangers. I would rather let the veterans take a breather, lose the division and home field advantage, and meet Tampa in the ALCS without breaking a sweat. 

My closest encounter with Mr. Steinbrenner was before opening day 2009 at the New Yankee Stadium. I went to meet Reggie Jackson at his hotel to get his autograph and I found out that the Steinbrenner’s were staying there. My dad and I were pressed for time before the game. The first Steinbrenner appeared outside. It was Hank. A man in the news all of the offseason. This before I learned not to get starstruck during interviews. I walked over to Hank, who was smoking and chatting with body guards, BlackBerry on “Voice Recorder” in hand, and asked Hank as low as I could speak and as fast, “My name is Brad Wolff, I am 13, and write a sports blog. Can I ask you a few questions please?” I lost the interview once I didn’t know how to save. I think I may have asked 2 or 3 questions including, “What is it like owning the Yankees?” He responded, “It’s great.” I walked away as Mr. October walked out. I got his signature on a ball I caught at the stadium from the day he was inducted into Monument Park. He signed it and my dad got a call from my mom. My mom and brother were on their way to the stadium and thought we should make our way there. We went on the subway moments after, as I never got the opportunity to witness George M. Steinbrenner in front of my eyes, not through a television.

The Yankees got bombed that day as I sat in the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar above monument park. I predicted the first home run (Jorge Posada) and remember a Shin Soo Choo homer to right field. All throughout the first blow out and the nice new ballpark, I wondered what meeting George would be like. Would he have a conversation with me or go right in his limo? Now it’s just a lingering thought in my head as the Boss’ legacy lives on.

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George Steinbrenner Passes Away At 80 But Leaves A Lasting Legacy In MLB

In the same week, the New York Yankees have suffered two heart breaking losses. The first to pass away was long time public address announcer Bob Sheppard, at 99 years old.

Sheppard passed away on July 11th, and two days later long time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner followed him. Heading into the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star break, Yankee fans and the organization will have heavy hearts.

Remembering the life of George Steinbrenner is a monumental challenge. Steinbrenner lived a full life that was not just confined to being the owner of the Yankees.

Steinbrenner was the only son of Henry George Steinbrenner and Rita Steinbrenner in Cleveland, Ohio. He would spend the early years of this life getting a B.A. from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952. A funny coincidence since he would become a thorn in the Boston Red Sox side later in life.

At Williams College, Steinbrenner was an active student who was a standout in Track and Field and played halfback for the football team. After graduation, Steinbrenner served his country in the United States Air Force.

Steinbrenner would be honorably discharged and take his talents to Ohio State University to get his graduate degree. At OSU, he was an assistant football coach with legendary Wood Hayes.

He was part of Hayes undefeated Buckeyes team that won the national championship. More importantly, during his time at OSU he would meet his future wife, Elizabeth Joan Zieg.

The two would be married on May 12, 1956 and would stay together thereafter and have four children, two sons and two daughters. The children he leaves behind are Hank Steinbrenner, Hal Steinbrenner, Jessica Steinbrenner, and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal.

After his time at OSU, Steinbrenner went on to coach at Northwestern and Purdue. Perhaps his biggest decision was to go back into the family business of shipping.

Steinbrenner went on to make his fortune with Cleveland based company American Company Shipping in 1957. Three years later in 1960, Steinbrenner made his first foray into sports would be as owner of the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League or ABL.

The team won the ABL championship in the 1961-62 season but folded early into the 1962 season. While this initial trip into the sports could be called mixed success at best, lessons were learned.

Steinbrenner, a native of Ohio tried to by the Cleveland Indians but failed to do so in 1971. But opportunity knocked twice for Steinbrenner a year later, when he joined forces with E. Michael Burke to by the Yankees in 1972 for just 8.8 million dollars.

Over time Steinbrenner went on to buy out most of his partners to gain complete control of the Yankees. The rest, one could say, is history.

The Yankees made their first World Series appearance under Steinbrenner in 1976 getting swept by the “Big Red Machine” of the Cincinnati Reds. One year later the Yankees won Steinbrenner’s first World Series in 1977.

Being true Yankee Doodle Dandy, having been born on the Fourth of July in 1930, Steinbrenner changed the sports landscape forever. Steinbrenner began to show his vision when he signed Catfish Hunter in 1974, basically starting the “free agent” period in sports.

Hunter’s 3.75 million contract started the salary boom that we still see today in baseball. Steinbrenner’s coup was signing Reggie Jackson from the Oakland Athletics for over three million as well.

Steinbrenner built a winner out of the Yankees and in the 38 years he owned the team made 19 post season appearances and 11 World Series appearances, winning seven of those trips to the October Classic.

Only the Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, and Arizona Diamondbacks were able to defeat the Yankees in the World Series. Only the Reds were able to sweep the Yankees in a post season loss.

Nearly every baseball fan wonders if Steinbrenner’s win at all cost mentality has hurt baseball in the long run. No one could question that “The Boss” (as he became known in the New York Tabloids) wanted to win more than anything.

It is strange that in a week the media has made a huge deal out of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert ripping superstar LeBron James, Steinbrenner would pass away. Steinbrenner was known for publicly calling out players and managers for their performance or perceived lack of effort.

Unlike Gilbert, Steinbrenner was never called a racist for his rants against players, many being black. Some like Reggie Jackson and Dave Winfield were stars of the game. That does not mean “The Boss” avoided his share of controversy.

Steinbrenner was suspended twice by Major League Baseball during his tenure as owner. The first suspension was for his involvement in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign for illegal campaign contributions and felony obstruction.

MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn suspended Steinbrenner for two years but it was later reduced to 15 months. In an ironic twist, Steinbrenner was pardoned by Ronald Regan in one of Regan’s last acts as president.

Steinbrenner once again found himself on the wrong side of MLB justice when the story broke that he paid a small time gambler Howie Spira $40,000 to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield in 1990.

Winfield was the highest paid player in MLB making, 23 million over 10 years and was perceived by Steinbrenner to not play hard in a key series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Steinbrenner said “Where is Reggie Jackson? We need a Mr. October or a Mr. September. Winfield is Mr. May. My big guys are not coming through. The guys who are supposed to carry the team are not carrying the team. They aren’t producing. If I don’t get big performances out of Winfield, Griffey and Baylor, we can’t win”.

Fall out of the statement above has been believed to be the reason that Ken Griffey Jr. stated he would never play for Steinbrenner.

On July 30, 1990 then MLB commissioner Fay Vincent suspended Steinbrenner for life after he learned about Spira and that Steinbrenner failed to pay 300 thousand dollars to Winfield’s foundation, breaking a guarantee in Winfield’s contract.

Steinbrenner also had controversy over facial hair and was constantly batting his managers. He hired 22 in this tenure and 15 different mangers, with Billy Martin being hired five times. There is no question that Steinbrenner made it when he became a pop culture icon in the show Seinfeld, commercials, The Simpsons, as well as hosting Saturday Night Live. 

For better or for worse, Steinbrenner changed the landscape in Major League Baseball forever. The ultimate owner, Steinbrenner wanted his team to be a winner and was the first owner to build his team in to a global brand.

The one thing that says the most about Steinbrenner’s time as Yankee owner is that when he bought the team it was for 8.8 million. Now the Yankees are worth $1.6 billion, trailing only Manchester United ($1.8 billion) and the Dallas Cowboys ($1.65 billion).

Rest in peace King George, The Boss, you will never be forgotten in American sports.

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