Remembering The Boss

July 13, 2010 1:26:11 PM PDT
He was a complicated man known by the simplest of nicknames. The Boss.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died today at age 80, was often cantankerous, always controversial.

His nickname wasn't just a title. It was the definition of his personality.

He loved money and he loved winning, and he used one to get the other. In the process, he returned the Yankees to glory. Love him or hate him - and there are many who did both simultaneously - he brought winning back to the Yankees, and turned the team into the richest sports team in history. His $10 million investment in 1972 morphed into a $1.5 billion asset.

Not a bad return on your investment.

In his early days, Steinbrenner was explosive. He would change managers as often as some guys change socks.

He had 20 of them in his first 23 years. He fired Billy Martin five times. Remember those great Miller Lite Beer ads, when he and Martin would argue over "tastes great, less filling?" they ended with Steinbrenner firing Miller again. And then when he would re-hire the fiery manager, they dubbed in "your hired" for Steinbrenner's TV ad.

Great stuff.

He loved to flaunt the rules back then as well. There were a few suspensions along the road, including a 15-month ban in 1974 after he pleaded guilty for conspiring to make illegal contributions to Pres. Nixon's re-election campaign. He was pardoned 15 years later by Pres. Reagan.

As it happens, baseball's best players, and its top executives are gathered tonight in Anaheim for the annual all-star game. Steinbrenner will be honored there tonight.

At 11, we'll have a look back at the life and career of the Yankees boss, and hear from those who worked for him. Scott Clark leads our coverage.

We're also watching developments in the Gulf of Mexico, where BP is trying to cap the oil spill, this as the leak finishes its third month. Last night they tried mightily to put a cap on it - they said it might be successful, but it certainly didn't look like it from the live feed.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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