When George Steinbrenner lorded over the Yankees, a local businessman would often show up at Yankee Stadium as the guest of The Boss, to sit in the owner’s box, take in a ballgame and chat. It made sense that long before Donald Trump ran for office, he and Steinbrenner were friends. Because back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was as if Steinbrenner created the mold from which Trump’s image would emerge two decades later: A pushy, attention-starved millionaire who operated temperamentally and lived on the cover of the New York tabloids: Steinbrenner
Before the politics -- just take the politics out of it, please -- Steinbrenner was Trump before Trump became Trump. Decades before the first episode of The Apprentice, Steinbrenner made famous the phrase “You’re fired” in a national beer campaign, guest-hosting Saturday Night Live, posing on horseback as King George for the cover of Sports Illustrated, making the rounds on late-night talk shows. Steinbrenner’s personality was so ingrained in popular culture that Jerry Seinfeld made Steinbrenner a recurring character in arguably most famous sitcom in television history.
No owner in North American professional sports has made a bigger dent in the public psyche than the polarizing Steinbrenner, and whether you loved Steinbrenner or you couldn’t stand him -- and for most baseball fans, it was the latter -- you couldn’t possibly ignore him. This is why it’s somewhat incredible and more than a little ridiculous that the late George Steinbrenner is not acknowledged with a plaque at The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.