George Steinbrenner, the long-time New York Yankees team owner and not-so-secret General Manager (as in he influenced a lot of personnel decisions for the team) died on Tuesday at age 80.
This article from the Christian Science Monitor highlights how Steinbrenner was just as notorious in Japan as he was here in the States, due to comments The Boss made over Japanese baseball stars Hideki Irabu (George called him a “fat toad”) and Hideki Matsui (whom the Boss was displeased with shortly after making his debut for the Yankees).
Of course, Steinbrenner was a larger-than-life individual, a man who was often seen as an evil warlord, throwing money and lavishing attention on shiny free agent players that he would lure to the Yankees, often crushing many teams’ hopes and dreams in the process.
Major League Baseball really felt his passing on Tuesday, with hours of programming dedicated to ESPN analysts discussing the man’s legacy and what he meant to the sport, the Yankees, and professional sports in general (since it was Steinbrenner himself who basically introduced the concept of highly-paid athletes).
I found this article really interesting, and it’s a good read for anyone who wants to read about Steinbrenner’s involvement and relationship with Japan and its star players.