George Steinbrenner III (1930-2010)
There was an unfortunate (but humorous) juxtaposition between photo and headline on The New York Times site today:
I'm obviously not a fan of Steinbrenner but I admire him in this way: He didn't live a life of quiet desperation. Sometimes it was noisy desperation but at least he knew what he wanted and went out and tried to get it. Sometimes, oftentimes, his very grasping attempt got in the way of his goal, but there was an object lesson in that, too. One learned this, watching him screw up with his Yankees throughout the 1980s. Did he learn it himself by the 1990s? Or was his grasping irascibility merely tempered by Joe Torre's calm? That's certainly implied by Tom Verducci in Joe Torre's biography, “The Yankee Years.”
I also admired this: He may have represented a corporation, his corporation, in a very public way, but there was nothing blandly corporate about him. You never wondered with Steinbrenner, “Well, what does he really mean? What is he trying to say?” The very thought is laughable. In comparison, what smooth, dull presences represent most baseball teams today. Steinbrenner was genuine. Often a genuine asshole, often a genuine bully, but genuine.
Will he be missed? Certainly. By me? I'm like Holden Caulfied. I wind up missing everybody.
Rest in peace, you old S.O.B.