The Columbia Paper reports that AM radio station WCKL is going back on the air next month, but buries the lede: namely, that it’ll be carrying WEEI’s Red Sox broadcasts. (There are more BoSox fans in these parts than one might expect.) WCKL is at 560 on the “dial.”
They say to speak no ill of the dead... But I’m gonna exercise a rare
exception here for an unusually obnoxious and even destructive character.
Amid the understandable nostalgia for a bona fide legend, and the
bemused reminiscences about his more benign foibles, it may largely be
ignored that Steinbrenner also had a pretty seedy side to him—bad
behavior which went well beyond amusing.
“Indicted on 14 criminal counts on April 5, 1974, the owner of the
New York Yankees plead guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiring
to make illegal contributions to President Richard Nixon’s re-election
campaign. Steinbrenner, a major Republican donor, allegedly knew the
money he was donating was not going through regular election
“If you don’t remember, Steinbrenner was banned for life from Major
League Baseball by then commissioner Fay Vincent for conspiring against
Dave Winfield. Steinbrenner supposedly paid a known gambler and Mafia
member to dig up dirt on the Hall of Famer.”
“Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner aimed RICO against
investment partners whom he charged with selling him their interests in a
joint venture without informing him of all necessary facts. Dubious
charges of racketeering are especially common in takeover attempts.”
Then of course, on the baseball side, there are lists like these:
Steinbrenner's idea of leadership was to call up his PR flack Howard Rubenstein and issue a stinging press release about his own team's lackluster play, intended to motivate his players to greater heights. Unfortunately that actually seem to work for him all too often.
Now, one can’t begrudge Yankee fans their sadness for Steinbrenner's
passing... After all, he’s been a force of nature in baseball for many fans' entire lives. But there is a legitimate case to be
made that the guy was bad for the game. He was committed to winning, yes—but mainly in the two least creative and skillful ways imaginable,
by throwing money at problems and throwing tantrums.
I readily admit that George Steinbrenner enriched the lives even of
Sox fans, by providing a constant source of both amusement and amazement
at his antics. He gave us a bogeyman to rail against, which probably
deflected the amount of venom we aimed at individual Yankee players.
Steinbrenner’s comparatively gentler later years remind me of that classic
line delivered by John Huston from Chinatown:
Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly
buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long