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George...An ego-driven sadist
on May 31, 2009
This is one of the few books that begin by listing traits of obsessive-compulsive and narcissistic personality disorders. It seems appropriate, however, in an attempt to describe and explain George Steinbrenner: The Poor Little Rich Boy Who Built the Yankee Empire.
While Steinbrenner has been in the headlines for more than 30 years for his egotistical and demanding ways, it would be a mistake to think that you know everything about the man.
Author Peter Golenbock spends more than 100 pages describing Steinbrenner's life before he purchased the Yankees in 1973. It helps explain his actions the past 30-plus years.
One of the most interesting chapters in the book involves Steinbrenner's ownership of the Cleveland Pipers in the National Industrial Basketball League in the early 1960s. He exhibited all the undesirable traits that he would as the owner of the Yankees.
Steinbrenner was described as "incapable of leaving well enough alone. He was a compulsive meddler who had to be in complete control over every aspect of the organization, and his most detrimental flaw was that he always thought that because he had once been a coach, he knew more about the sport than his coaches. The other part had to do with his narcissism, the personality disorder in which the one suffering from it is convinced that he is better than everyone else, is smarter than every else, and knows better than everyone else.
"His second-guessing was constant and annoying, and his meddling often counterproductive and sometimes downright hurtful to his team."
Although Steinbrenner's actions with the Yankees have been well chronicled, they are more disturbing when read collectively. Golenbock describes Steinbrenner as "an ego-driven sadist." His mistreatment of players, managers, coaches and front office personnel is legendary. Steinbrenner hates those who succeed, particularly those in his own organization. He must take credit for everything.
Despite all the negatives, Steinbrenner does have a generous side, helping high school athletes and supporting causes. It still doesn't make him a likeable person.
This is a good book to read if you want to know more about George Steinbrenner, certainly one of the most impactful personalities in baseball history.
As noted by other reviewers, Golenbock does seem to suffer from "brain freeze" when it comes to a number of facts. Most any baseball fan knows that Roger Maris isn't in the Hall of Fame and Denny McLain (who retired in 1972) didn't lead the Detroit Tigers to a 35-5 start in 1984. These are just a couple of the factual mistakes.