George Steinbrenner, the mercurial, temperamental, and never dull owner of the New York Yankees for my entire lifetime, died this morning of a heart attack.
I’ll leave it to others to weigh in on both the bad (Nixon, Howard Spira, Billy Martin, Steve Trout, several decades of emotionally abusing employees) and the good (seven World Series titles, a relentless – if at times poorly-planned – commitment to winning, less-publicized kinder moments) that came with Boss George. Instead, I wanted to remember George Steinbrenner, “Seinfeld” character.
Steinbrenner never played himself in an aired version of the show (though I believe he did once film a scene that was cut). Instead, the character always appeared in silhouette or from behind, and was voiced by Larry David himself (which was easier to do pre-“Curb,” when few people knew what David sounded like), and was the most wonderfully loopy boss on a series that took great pleasure in giving its characters weird and hilarious bosses (Mr. Pitt, Mr. Kruger, etc.). Steinbrenner was introduced to the show during the end of the Yankees’ early-’90s misery (one of the show’s earliest cameos by a Yankee player was the unfortunate Danny Tartabull) and was still around after the team won its first World Series in almost 20 years, but the character was just as funny whether the real team was good or bad.
Here are links to two compilations of most of the great George-meets-George scenes, with the highlight being Steinbrenner’s trip to the Costanza house around the six-minute mark of the first video: Part One & Part Two.