Fox not only captured all the emotion of George Steinbrenner’s ride around Yankee Stadium Tuesday night, but Joe Buck punctuated what might have been The Boss’ final Bronx appearance by endorsing him for a spot in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Buck presented his pitch to what was likely a huge All-Star viewing audience in the sixth inning.
“He (Steinbrenner) should be in the Hall of Fame,” Buck said. “He made a lot of controversial decisions over the course of the years. …But I think you can always say that man, The Boss, was doing what he could to help this Yankee team win.” – Bob Raissman, New York Daily News, July 17, 2008
That Steinbrenner has been willing to spend in order to win —- and in turn, has indirectly subsidized the likes of the Twins and Royals cannot be disputed. Likewise, it can’t be argued that he’s not presided over an otherwise moribund franchise’s return to glory. But aside from victories and commercial success, there’s much more to the Boss’ resume than mere “controversy” or a reputation for bullying. In 1974, Steinbrenner was indicted on 14 counts of illegal contributions to the campaign to re-elect President Richard M. Nixon ; the Yankee owner would later plead guilty and eventually be pardoned by Ronald Reagan in 1989.
Were it not for Steinbrenner, the name Howard Spira would probably not go down in baseball history. The former’s sleazy efforts to defame one of his own players were hardly part of what Buck explains away as “doing what he could to help this team win”.
Jack Buck once famously said of Steinbrenner’s yacht, “It was a beautiful thing to observe, with all 36 oars working in unison.” A remark meant in fun, most probably, but it is interesting to hear the younger Buck use the Fox airwaves to lobby for Steinbrenner’s Hall Of Fame candidacy. I’d applaud Steinbrenner’s induction, but only if he gets in shortly after Tom Sizemore’s Beatle wig.