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George: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire Hardcover – April 1, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

From the time he bought the New York Yankees in 1973 until he handed control of the team to his sons in 2007, George Steinbrenner was the object of more media scorn than any other team owner in sports history-and most of the time he deserved it. Yet, amid the swirl of scandals, feuds, firings, banishments, bad trades, and even a felony conviction, he revived baseball's most storied franchise, won ten pennants and six World Series, and transformed a failing ten-million-dollar team into a billion-dollar sports and media empire. It's easy to say that there's no such thing as bad publicity; it's quite another to prove it over and over again for more than three decades. How did he do it?

In George, New York Times bestselling author Peter Golenbock, who has been writing about the Yankees since before Steinbrenner's first day on the job, tells the stranger-than-fiction story of baseball's biggest bully, worst boss, and most successful owner ever.

Drawing on more than a hundred interviews with those who have known Steinbrenner throughout his life, Golenbock tells the epic story of the "Boss," from his Midwestern childhood and family shipping business background through his thirty-four-year ownership of the Yankees-the longest in the team's history. He reveals the inside stories behind George's stormy relationship with manager Billy Martin, whom he hired five times and fired four, and his decade-long war with Yankee star Dave Winfield, which culminated in Steinbrenner's second banishment from the game. He also reveals how general manager Gene "Stick" Michael saved the Yankees' future by preventing the Boss from trading Mariano Rivera and Bernie Williams early in their careers.

If you've ever wondered why Sparky Lyle and Graig Nettles were traded away when both were in top form, what it took to provoke Yogi Berra into declaring that he'd never set foot in Yankee Stadium again, or why the man who fired every manager he ever hired couldn't fire Joe Torre and had to insult him into quitting, you'll find the full stories behind these bizarre decisions and every other off-the-wall episode in Steinbrenner's controversial tenure as Yankee owner.

Complete with accounts of Steinbrenner's involvement in the creation of the Yes Network and the sweetheart deal between the Yankees and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani that enabled the construction of the House that Steinbrenner Built-the new Yankee Stadium-George is packed with drama, insight, and plenty of inside-baseball and front-office details. It should be required reading for every baseball lover and Yankee fan, and for anyone who appreciates an exciting and compelling story well told.

From the Back Cover

"Who but the master of the baseball biography, Golenbock, could finally get the fix on Steinbrenner, the most curious, fearsome, pathetic, seminal figure in the pastime's modern history. You'll hate and love George all over again in this fast-moving pageant of tales you never heard and old ones told truthfully."
Robert Lipsyte, author, Heroes of Baseball

"Loathe him or hate him, he's the most famous owner in the history of professional baseball, the one and only Boss. Now, finally, from a writer who knows the Yankees inside-out, is a complete, rip-roaring portrait of the man behind the turtlenecks, tantrums, sky-scraping payroll and championship rings."
Jonathan Mahler, author, The Bronx is Burning

"No one is better equipped to delve into George Steinbrenner's improbable, outsized life than Peter Golenbock, the undisputed king of baseball books. His latest is compulsively readable and chock-full of revealing anecdotes that are sure to make headlines. A fascinating account of a complex man who is both infuriating bully and beloved icon."
Jane Heller, author of Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470392193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470392195
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,541,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author Peter Golenbock is a well known author and should be totally embarrassed with the shoddy final product presented here covering the life of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Any potential reader that is a true sports fan... and not just a dilettante... will find it hard to relax and enjoy this book, as error after glaring error is perpetrated regarding historical facts... locations... and times. As the reader wades through early blunders... even the roughest critics can cast them aside and continue. But as the pages turn and the missteps accumulate it creates a reading atmosphere akin to "a-dog-that's-been-hit-too-much". You find yourself wondering how much of the non-verifiable conversations and situations are not valid either. What makes this literary release so shameful is that in addition to the question of what type of individual proof-read this book... is that with today's infinite amount of data available at your fingertips... so much of these mistakes could be caught with a quick internet inquiry. It isn't like the old days where you would need a roomful of people reading day and night.

*A few shameful examples*

The author says George spent six weeks in basic training at Lackland Air Force base in Houston.

INCORRECT: Lackland AFB is in San Antonio. I know I served there.

The author states that "Hopalong" Cassady of Ohio State won the Heisman Trophy TWICE, in 1954 and 1955.

INCORRECT: He did NOT win the Heisman in 1954, only 1955.

The author states that a trade made that included Roger Maris and Hoyt Wilhelm resulted in both of them making the Hall Of Fame.

INCORRECT: Roger Maris is NOT in the Hall Of Fame.

The author states that Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees for $100,000.
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Format: Hardcover
Just read this book ....what a disgrace...yes, after a while I kept reading it just to discover the next error the author would come up with.

It's a shame since he did such good work years ago, books that I still own such as Balls and Bronx Zoo.

I remember hearing of a fictionalized book he wrote recently regarding Mantle, and some of the crap in that book was trash.
This George book just adds the list of poor work he has done recently and especially in an age where folks can verify info via the internet, he goes ahead and releases a book full of errors, errors that any baseball fan could pick up on. Makes you question the whole damn book.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say that I found the book interesting and while it did not break anything new, other than try to portray Steinbrenner as this secret Samaritan, there were so many mistakes and factual errors in this book that I found it nearly impossible to finish. So many dates were wrong or contradicted by later information I wonder if George himself was the editor so the book would be discredited.

All in all this is a great waste and if I were the author or publisher would withdraw it to finish it properly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a great amount of information about Mr. Steinbrenner. The book talks about his upbringing, college and post-college life, business endeavors and how he became who he is. The majority of this book does a great job telling us about George, and the experiences that shaped him.

There is a large part of the Book where Mr. Golenbock seems to be more venting about his problems with George than keeping to information about George. It vaguely reminded me of Selenea Roberts tone at times about A-Rod in her book. This bothered me, but not enough to stop reading.

After reading this book (I have not read the more recent book about George) I had a better feel about who he was. The book goes over good detail, detail I left out as to not spoil it or bore you. I would probably recommend the other book (Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball), it did get an overall better rating. If you do not like the newer one, this one does have adequate information well put together, until it gets bogged down by Peter trying to portray George more poorly than he already is viewed.
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Format: Hardcover
I caught a few errors in the book, but Steinbrenner is a really scary guy. Misrepresenting himself as a pro football player, betrayal, being a bully,the illegal contributions through his trembling employees -imagine he faced 55 years for the illegal contributions and got a fine. Kuhn suspends him for 2 years he is back in 15 months. I saw him as a Hall of Famer but not after reading this book. Billy,Yogi,Gabe Paul, Al Rosen, Joe Torre - what [...] he gave them. He abused his power and demanded all the credit be given to him
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Format: Paperback
George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees from CBS in 1973; the franchise
today is now worth more than a billion dollars . . . he also helped build the team to a point
where it won ten pennants and six World Series.

Yet along the way, he constantly berated his players, tortured his managers
and employees and was twice suspended from baseball for actions that
nearly landed him in jail . . . all this and much more is covered in GEORGE,
Peter Gollenbock's engaging biography of the guy well-known by his
nickname of "The Boss."

Steinbrenner's father was a successful business owner, but he
was anything easy on young George:

* You could run three races in one day and get two firsts and a second,
and the only thing he wanted to talk about was, How did you get beat?
What did you do wrong? One lesson he taught me that stayed with me
more than anything is that you can learn more from your mistakes than
you can from successes.

I enjoyed reading about his childhood, as well as about his initial
foray into sports ownership with a basketball team called the
Cleveland Pipers:

* George's philosophy was "What's the point of playing unless you want
to win?" And I think that's commendable. That's why they won the
championship. He pushed them. He wanted to win even though we
weren't making any money, because he figured if we had a championship
team, why, we'd draw fans. He didn't have the money he needed, and he
still went out and got the players. The only thing was, we didn't draw fans.
In a way he was way ahead of his time. He was on the right track, wanted
to raise money, but not with that crew.
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