How right McMullen was. George Steinbrenner was the Yankees, involved in every aspect of the franchise from facial hair to board rooms to bathrooms. And he was fond of spouting homilies, maxims, mottos:
“Give me a bastard with talent.”
Frank Sinatra was Steinbrenner's favorite singer. The Yankees began to play “New York, New York” in 1980 after home games ended.
There was always the bad, the ugly, the good when the subject matter was George Steinbrenner and his place in Yankee ownership history.
What never received much publicity was his sending of money to injured high school athletes so they could go to college. He believed in keeping older friends and contacts from his football days on the payroll. He believed in giving “second chances” – see Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden. Partial to the military, Steinbrenner set a policy at Yankee Stadium - men and women in uniform were admitted free.
I had two chance meetings with George Steinbrenner. Both were memorable. I was sitting in his office at Yankee Stadium with the late Robert Merrill, the great opera singer, who for many Yankee fans was better known as the man who sang the "Star Spangled Banner." I was interviewing Merrill for a profile. This was late 1980s. Steinbrenner charged in, military stance, bristly and in charge.