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If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if you’re just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily New If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if you’re just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily News, and he brings all his insights and inside connections to Steinbrenner: the definitive biography of one of New York’s most intriguing and long-standing sports figures, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.


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If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if you’re just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily New If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if you’re just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily News, and he brings all his insights and inside connections to Steinbrenner: the definitive biography of one of New York’s most intriguing and long-standing sports figures, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

30 review for Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This impressive biography by Bill Madden was published just a few weeks before Steinbrenner’s death in 2010. I am not a Yankees fan and most definitely not a Steinbrenner fan. Despite my lack of affection I can say this is one of the best biographies I’ve read in my ‘Best 100 Baseball Books’ project. Steinbrenner owned the Yankees from 1973 to 2010 and Bill Madden was a sportswriter for the UPI and New York Daily News and covered the Yankees from 1978 until 2015. We learn that George was born in This impressive biography by Bill Madden was published just a few weeks before Steinbrenner’s death in 2010. I am not a Yankees fan and most definitely not a Steinbrenner fan. Despite my lack of affection I can say this is one of the best biographies I’ve read in my ‘Best 100 Baseball Books’ project. Steinbrenner owned the Yankees from 1973 to 2010 and Bill Madden was a sportswriter for the UPI and New York Daily News and covered the Yankees from 1978 until 2015. We learn that George was born in 1930 in Bay Village, a wealthy enclave near Cleveland Ohio. He was born into a multi-generational Great Lakes shipping family. George excelled at some sports like track (hurdles) and football in high school and college but ironically he didn’t play baseball. He was an intelligent kid who played the piano and he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952. After graduating he enlisted for a stint in the Air Force and was stationed near his home in Ohio. Upon his release, he served as an assistant on Woody Hayes’s staff at Ohio State and Lou Saban at Northwestern. With his family’s money he started to invest in different minor league sports franchises. While in his thirties George took over operations of the family’s multi-million dollar shipping empire in Cleveland which was already quite profitable became more profitable and allowed him to purchase the Yankees in 1973 when CBS was willing to sell a failing franchise. After moving to New York, he hired Roy Cohn as his attorney and began to really play “hardball” in the business and legal sense. His success with the Yankees was partly because of his desire to win but mostly because of his deep pockets and a savvy realization that while free agency (introduced in 1974) was driving up player salaries he could work this to his advantage because he was one of the richest owners. After all who wouldn’t want to play in New York and make a lot of money. Over the next thirty-seven years, the Yankees would win seven World Series for Steinbrenner. Now the egomaniacal Steinbrenner certainly had significant character flaws and treated his GM’s, managers, and even some of his players atrociously. He fired Billy Martin, one of the most successful and impossibly pugnacious managers of all time, no less than five times. As far as GMs, Steinbrenner on several occasions would employ two GMs and wait to see which one could last amidst the chaos. Steinbrenner, who did not grow up a Yankees fan, often used past Yankees in various PR, GM and manager roles because he knew they would put up with a lot of abuse because they felt so strongly about the Yankee dynasty. Another one of Steinbrenner’s favorite tricks was to ask an underperforming star player what he thought of signing a potential player. If the star player said it was a good idea, he signed the new player and traded the underperforming star away just so they could think about the conversation after they were traded away. There were some nice things he did as an owner too. When old (and young) Yankees passed away, including Martin and Munson, Steinbrenner made sure that they had large tributes and funerals. In his later years, he was also able to soften his image when it was clear he would be handing the reigns to his children at some point. 4.5 stars. Highly recommended. I docked .5 stars because I think the material on the Joe Torre-Yankee years was a little thin. During much of that latter Torre period Steinbrenner was in poor health and did not make as many public appearances.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa K

    I liked it at first but I think I picked the wrong time to read a book that is mostly a lunatic billionaire yelling a lot.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Whenever I contemplate reading a biography, I always consider the author, and if they had a relationship with the person being written of. I prefer not to read what Lester Bangs classified as “puff pieces”, instead, opting for an author that owed no allegiance to the subject. Bill Madden covered the Yankees as beat writer for New York’s Daily News, spanning thirty years. Given the controversial nature of Steinbrenner, the only realistic way Madden could write this book was to do so, head-on. In Whenever I contemplate reading a biography, I always consider the author, and if they had a relationship with the person being written of. I prefer not to read what Lester Bangs classified as “puff pieces”, instead, opting for an author that owed no allegiance to the subject. Bill Madden covered the Yankees as beat writer for New York’s Daily News, spanning thirty years. Given the controversial nature of Steinbrenner, the only realistic way Madden could write this book was to do so, head-on. In my view, he succeeded, as not to take a direct approach, would have set himself up for criticism from both his peers, and baseball fans at large. George Steinbrenner was an adult version of the very annoying kid many of us met in our adolescence - born on third base because of the happenstance of his birthright, he nevertheless reminded you frequently and unconvincingly, that it was rather his athletic prowess in hitting a triple into the gap, that initially placed him on third. Steinbrenner’s watershed moment was not his birthright, but instead, his purchase of the Yankees in 1973 from CBS for a mere $10 Million. In spite of his constant intermeddling, the Yankees won, and often. Today in 2013, the Yankees franchise was valued by Forbes at $2.3 Billion, in no small measure the result of Steinbrenner’s alacrity and shrewd, innovative business practices. Arguably, “The Boss” was one of the most successful sports business executives and owners, not just among his peers, but perhaps of all-time. Madden provides a balanced view of Steinbrenner’s life, among which are the private details of his personal and family life which for me, was a mystery until I read this book. Additionally, I was unaware of his very caring, charitable nature to virtual strangers, much of which was done anonymously. Beneath the coarse, rude exterior of an aggressive, provocative, bombastic man, are glimpses of a decent human being. Some of the funniest parts of this book pertain to Steinbrenner’s interaction with his staff, his general and field managers, and most amusing of all, his always awkward interaction with his players. Graig Nettles, a very clutch hitter with a Hall of Fame glove, routinely laughed at Steinbrenner. Lou Piniella, as both a player and manager, openly argued with George. Three time American League MVP, Yankee manager, and Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra, literally boycotted Yankee Stadium for fourteen years, given his disdain for both The Boss’ intermeddling and the manner in which he was dismissed as field manager. Perhaps the funniest anecdote is that of Rick Cerone, the journeyman catcher, who had the unenviable position of replacing the late-Thurman Munson. Following a playoff loss to Milwaukee, George was “blistering his players” to which Cerone interrupted the tirade with “Feck you George! You don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know a fecking thing about baseball.” The most memorable player is Hall of Fame Pitcher, Rich “Goose” Gossage, hands-down, the best multiple innings closer in the history of the game. His dominating figure invoked the same fear that Hall of Fame Pitchers, Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale did when a batter stepped in to face them. He affectionately referred to Steinbrenner as “the fat man”, responding to Steinbrenner’s continuous, public criticism of his players. After his six-year contract was up, Gossage unceremoniously stated: “I’ve just had enough of the bullshitte that goes on there.” If you are a Yankees fan, a New York baseball fan like me, or just a baseball fan that lived through Steinbrenner’s more than thirty years of active ownership of the Yankees, this is a historical, sometimes sad, and oftentimes funny book about a very polarizing, yet memorable man.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    It's funny: I'm 28 and started following the Yankees seriously around 1994, the strike year, so all I've known is unthinkable success and stability. Certainly that's how the Yankee brass wants you to remember the Steinbrenner era -- just look at the YES Network's love-fest for the man on their Yankeeography show; all the guests tripped over themselves to out-praise Steinbrenner. Sometimes you have to be reminded that immediately preceding the 15+ years of winning since the strike ended was a peri It's funny: I'm 28 and started following the Yankees seriously around 1994, the strike year, so all I've known is unthinkable success and stability. Certainly that's how the Yankee brass wants you to remember the Steinbrenner era -- just look at the YES Network's love-fest for the man on their Yankeeography show; all the guests tripped over themselves to out-praise Steinbrenner. Sometimes you have to be reminded that immediately preceding the 15+ years of winning since the strike ended was a period of mediocrity that lasted almost as long -- and could be sourced back to the same man. No club that goes through 17 managers in 17 years and fields players at the whim of a man with the impulses of a 7-year-old (and the management technique of your average schoolyard bully) could have won the way the Yankees of yesteryear did. Is it purely coincidence that the two greatest periods of success since Steinbrenner took over the team, the late 1970s and the 1996-2001 run (the vestiges of which remain still), are due in large part to personnel decisions made because Steinbrenner was banned from the everyday baseball operations of the team? Bill Madden's book is a nice run-through for relatively young fans like me about the Steinbrenner era as seen by someone who was in the trenches every day, a wake-up call that the same man we can credit for turning the Yankees into a global empire is also responsible for some truly grievous decisions as well. George Steinbrenner is the definition of a complex character, a benevolent dictator, a petulant crank whose teams have won (way) more World Series than any other team since 1974, a ruthless entrepreneur who saw the potential in free agency and changed the game forever. A novelist couldn't make him up, but Madden does a good job at trying to portray him, warts and all.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Luke Koran

    In a lengthy biography befitting his nearly four-decade-long tenure as owner of the New York Yankees, sportswriter Bill Madden paints a near-complete portrait of who George Steinbrenner III was in "Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball." Numerous interviews, new primary sources, and the author's own experiences shed much light on the Yankees outspoken, overly-involved owner, most notably from 1973 to 1992. Unfortunately, this book greatly tapers off following Steinbrenner's reinstatement in 19 In a lengthy biography befitting his nearly four-decade-long tenure as owner of the New York Yankees, sportswriter Bill Madden paints a near-complete portrait of who George Steinbrenner III was in "Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball." Numerous interviews, new primary sources, and the author's own experiences shed much light on the Yankees outspoken, overly-involved owner, most notably from 1973 to 1992. Unfortunately, this book greatly tapers off following Steinbrenner's reinstatement in 1993, especially after his first health crisis in 2003. Sure, this may be due to a lack of Steinbrenner intervention in the Yankees championship teams (go figure, Steinbrenner doesn't intervene and the Yankees become a winning machine). Still, I feel that Madden could have dug deeper to find interesting anecdotes to share with his captivated readership. Though this book could have waited until Steinbrenner's death (or at least have an afterward published in a second edition), I am thankful to have learned so much about George Steinbrenner and the true stories that contributed to his legendary persona.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Timberly

    Madden makes the case that, for almost all of his time as owner, Steinbrenner WAS the Yankees. He did this more completely than King Louis XIV (L'etat c'est moi!) ever was able to do with France. I liked the stories Madden included in the book, and the interviews from people who knew first-hand how fickle Steinbrenner could be. I think that Madden left a two important questions left unanswered. First, Madden made it clear that Steinbrenner helped usher in a new era of baseball through free agency Madden makes the case that, for almost all of his time as owner, Steinbrenner WAS the Yankees. He did this more completely than King Louis XIV (L'etat c'est moi!) ever was able to do with France. I liked the stories Madden included in the book, and the interviews from people who knew first-hand how fickle Steinbrenner could be. I think that Madden left a two important questions left unanswered. First, Madden made it clear that Steinbrenner helped usher in a new era of baseball through free agency, spending millions of dollars to build championship teams in the 1970s. Yet how did this fall apart in the 1980s? Was Steinbrenner unlucky with free agents, or did his problems with his shipping company spill over to the ballclub? He hinted to both, but no clear answer was ever given. And then, in the 1990s and 2000s, when the Yankees again succeeded, what changed with Steinbrenner? For one, he left Torre as manager and Cashman as GM for a long time, especially given how quickly he went through administrators before them. What changed that brought stability?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Jerviss

    Recently, I finished Madden's biography of Tom Seaver and decided to give this book a whirl. Even though I'm not a Yankees fan, I found the book hard to put down and especially enjoyed the descriptions of the late '70s Yankees (How in the world did this team win two World Series given the constant internal turmoil?). My one critique is that I wanted Madden to probe "the inner Steinbrenner" a little more. Was his domineering style only because he had a jerk for a father or is there more to it? If Recently, I finished Madden's biography of Tom Seaver and decided to give this book a whirl. Even though I'm not a Yankees fan, I found the book hard to put down and especially enjoyed the descriptions of the late '70s Yankees (How in the world did this team win two World Series given the constant internal turmoil?). My one critique is that I wanted Madden to probe "the inner Steinbrenner" a little more. Was his domineering style only because he had a jerk for a father or is there more to it? If Steinbrenner's style never really changed, how do we explain why the Yankees of the '80s and early '90s so awful? Overall, how do we assess Steinbrenner's tenure of ownership? Highly successful because of the 7 world championships or were the Yankees only successful when actual baseball minds like Gabe Paul and Gene Michael were in charge of things? A little more analysis from a writer who knew Steinbrenner and knew what made him tick would have enhanced an already excellent read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeni Enjaian

    Ugh. I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. As an avid baseball fan, I could not help but know about Steinbrenner and his tremendous influence not only on the Yankees but also on baseball itself. I picked up the book thinking that I would discover a biography about the man. Instead, I found a dense narrative that felt like a compilation of newspaper articles that hinged around Steinbrenner, only a few times drifting off into non-baseball related aspects of the man's life. This is not a good Ugh. I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. As an avid baseball fan, I could not help but know about Steinbrenner and his tremendous influence not only on the Yankees but also on baseball itself. I picked up the book thinking that I would discover a biography about the man. Instead, I found a dense narrative that felt like a compilation of newspaper articles that hinged around Steinbrenner, only a few times drifting off into non-baseball related aspects of the man's life. This is not a good biography, at all. It's way too dense and does not live up to the subtitle the author gave. I do not recommend it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    As an avid sports fan, whether you love him or detest him, this book is a great summary of The Boss’s days with the Yankees. While there were some glaring mistakes (Mets didn’t beat the Braves in the 2000 NLCS to face Yanks in World Series, nor did game 2 go to extra innings of that World Series) but it gives a detailed view of what The Boss was like during his tumultuous years of owning the Yanks. I would say that the easily researched mistakes about the 2000 postseason make me wonder how many As an avid sports fan, whether you love him or detest him, this book is a great summary of The Boss’s days with the Yankees. While there were some glaring mistakes (Mets didn’t beat the Braves in the 2000 NLCS to face Yanks in World Series, nor did game 2 go to extra innings of that World Series) but it gives a detailed view of what The Boss was like during his tumultuous years of owning the Yanks. I would say that the easily researched mistakes about the 2000 postseason make me wonder how many mistakes were made from eras I’m not as familiar, which is why I took away a star.

  10. 5 out of 5

    SWC

    Knowing that I am an avid baseball fan, one of my daughters picked this book up for me at a second hand book sale at our local library. I especially found interesting being reminded how George Steinbrenner became the owner of the Yankees.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Detailed account of Steinbrenner and his relationships with managers, players, former players, fellow owners.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    George Steinbrenner was quite the character. A very interesting read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Tailor

    It has quite a few cuss words, but dramatic and very intriguing. 5/5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Grey

    interesting about hated Yankees

  15. 4 out of 5

    SeaShore

    I am reading this book recognizing that it is important to understand the power and dominance which occurs amongst wealthy leaders in the entertainment field and the interaction and interconnectedness that occur among all leaders, whether political, sports, other entertainers/celebrities, CEOs, leaders of countries around the world. The rich want to remain rich or get richer. No one wants to step off the highest rung of the ladder of status and wealth if they have already arrived there. The propo I am reading this book recognizing that it is important to understand the power and dominance which occurs amongst wealthy leaders in the entertainment field and the interaction and interconnectedness that occur among all leaders, whether political, sports, other entertainers/celebrities, CEOs, leaders of countries around the world. The rich want to remain rich or get richer. No one wants to step off the highest rung of the ladder of status and wealth if they have already arrived there. The proposal to have Yankee games on MSG network and then cable TV starting in 1989 would pay Steinbrenner $493.5 million over 12 years changed the industry. Steinbrenner had good reason to hire Dallas Green. (who literally browbeated the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1980 world championship). Dallas Green was to be manager and he had no idea what he was getting into. Both believed in confrontational motivation. First, it was the battle that occurred between Winffield and Steinbrenner . In January 1990, the Steinbrenner paid $40,000 to "former" gambler Howard Spira for dirt on Winfield and the foundation - Spira had been an unpaid publicist for the foundation the previous decade. However, he had now got himself into a large hole, owing a total of $100,000 to various bookies with mob connections. On hearing of the latest Winfield lawsuit, he approached Steinbrenner and said that he could provide proof that Winfield had been "squandering his foundation's money on trysts with girlfriends." He didn't pay up but charged Spira with extortion. But then Steinbrenner fired Dallas Green anyway. On a cold Friday night in mid-January 1984, the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association gathered at the Shea Stadium Diamond Club for its annual roast. For this occasion, the writers decided to hold a reunion of the seven New York Yankees public relations directors who had served under George Steinbrenner, beginning with Bob Fishel. "They should have all the managers up there too," remarked Yogi Berra. Steinbrenner did not attend. By the late '80's, Steinbrenner's two principal entities, the Yankees and American Shipbuilding Co., both of which were striving at the beginning of the decade, had begun experiencing hard times. The Reagan administration cutting government subsidies had proved to be a death knell to the shipbuilding industry, causing more than 40 American shipyards to go out of business between 1984 and 1989. Ironically, on January 19, 1989, Reagan pardoned Steinbrenner for his 1974 conviction for illegal campaign contributions to President Nixon. The pardon stunned even Steinbernner's closest friends, since there was no indication of any close relationship between the Yankees owner and the president After a few more major losses, Steinbrenner was forced to start pumping his own money into the company in exchange for stock. Thus in a dramatic shift of financial resources, the company whose hefty profits had allowed Steinbrenner to purchase the Yankees in 1973 was now being kept on life support through the Yankees. Steinbrenner was at this time in the middle of a 15-year deal with Cabletelevision, which televised 75 Yankee games on its own SportsChannel network. With the March 2020 covid 19 pandemic and so many changes the way we are living globally. it is nice to be able to read news by Michael Lupica (born 1952 -he is also a novelist), who is an author and former American newspaper columnist, best known for his provocative commentary on sports in the New York Daily News and his appearances on ESPN. He writes about when the Yankees were known as the Bronx Zoo. He says that none was crazier than 1981, the first strike year in baseball since 1972. Reggie Jackson, playing his last season for the Yankees, was ordered by Steinbrenner to take a physical in August, including an eye exam. He writes that: Reggie said “We were reality TV before reality TV." Steinbrenner was waiting in the clubhouse when the Yankees got there and began threatening changes if the Yankees didn’t win Game 5. It is all in the MLB article March 19, 2020 Re-reading this book was a rewarding exercise for me reminding me how important it is to understand the past so you could live better in the present.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike Arcari

    The Boss Explained Fantastic! Behind the scenes look into the Bronx Bombers, renegade owner, brilliant, funny, sad, a must read for any baseball fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Loucks

    I read this for my 2019 reading challenge and the category was a book that makes you nostalgic. I always enjoy New York Yankees books but this has been one of my favorites. I really did not know much about George Steinbrenner other than he was The Boss and ruined with an iron fist. This book showed me another side of him when they discussed all he did for children and 9/11. I have been wanting to read this for awhile and it did not disappoint.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This is a good portrait of George Steinbrenner written by someone who was there. Madden has put together a fascinating portrait which should be of interest to Yankee fans and anyone interested in the modern business of sports. Steinbrenner was clearly a smart, talented businessman whose passion for winning helped revitalize a franchise that had become moribund. His insistence that the franchise operate in a "first class" manner -- from upgrading training facilities to making sure the luxury boxe This is a good portrait of George Steinbrenner written by someone who was there. Madden has put together a fascinating portrait which should be of interest to Yankee fans and anyone interested in the modern business of sports. Steinbrenner was clearly a smart, talented businessman whose passion for winning helped revitalize a franchise that had become moribund. His insistence that the franchise operate in a "first class" manner -- from upgrading training facilities to making sure the luxury boxes were properly swept -- helped restore badly needed luster to the most famous name in American professional sports. As Madden shows, for better or worse (and there is plenty of both), Steinbrenner also helped to usher in a new era in American professional sports. There are doubtless men and women who have achieved great success in business while retaining, at the very least, a basic integrity in their dealings with others. George Steinbrenner, sadly, was not one of those people. As Madden's book reminds us, even as Steinbrenner is being lionized and mythologized in death, he was a bully, a blowhard, and a consistent liar. Steinbrenner's felony convictions are the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, from the outset of his time with the Yankees, he seems to have regarded deceving his business associates, his partners, his employees and his players as just good, tough business practice. Steinbrenner was a complicated figure and Madden amply documents his capacity for warmth, generosity, and even genuine remorse for at least some misdeeds. The reader also gets a sense of Steinbrenner's unyielding, perpetually disapproving father -- and it is not hard to figure out from whence at least some of Steinbrenner's demons sprang. Madden is at his best during the early years of Steinbrenner's tenure, helped, no doubt, by his access to the taped diary entries made by Yankee President Gabe Paul. His coverage of Steinbrenner's later years (and the Yankee dynasty of the late 90's/2000's), by comparison, is quite thin and unsatisfying. Another complaint is that Madden's book could have used one more good round of editing. There are too many instances of needless repetition of facts from one chapter to the next. But these are minor flaws. Madden had made a nice contribution here to baseball and business lore.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a fairly detailed book about George Steinbrenner that draws heavily on anecdotes from his business associates, family, former employees, and others that were within his sphere of influence. Quite a bit of the material was just condensing and rehashing of news stories from Steinbrenner's four decades of owning the Yankees, but there were some great behind the scenes stories too. Madden does a good job showing the irrationality of Steinbrenner and leaves us with the impression that it all s This is a fairly detailed book about George Steinbrenner that draws heavily on anecdotes from his business associates, family, former employees, and others that were within his sphere of influence. Quite a bit of the material was just condensing and rehashing of news stories from Steinbrenner's four decades of owning the Yankees, but there were some great behind the scenes stories too. Madden does a good job showing the irrationality of Steinbrenner and leaves us with the impression that it all stemmed from Steinbrenner's inability to ever live up to his father's expectations. That might be the heart of the explanation, but I kind of doubt that it fully explains why Steinbrenner constantly hired and fired Billy Martin, Lou Piniella, and Gene Michael. All in all, I was left with the impression that Steinbrenner could be a great guy to deal with if you were running a charity, but that working directly under the man would lead to an absolutely miserable existence. It was interesting to read this book and compare it to Joe Torre's Yankee Years regarding the end of Torre's tenure as skipper of the Yanks. From the Steinbrenner perspective, Torre had forgotten that Steinbrenner was singly responsible for Torre's celebrity, wealth, and status as one of the most successful managers in the game. Torre's book suggested that Steinbrenner had been unduly influenced by others in the organization who wanted him out and that the new deal was an insult. I think Torre's version gets more play because he got his book out there first, but this certainly provides an interesting counterpoint. Steinbrenner revolutionized baseball in awarding some of the largest free agent contracts and his very hands-on approach to owning a team, but he also burned a lot of bridges along the way. If you're interested in learning about the last of the brash, outspoken baseball team owners, I'd recommend this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    P.J.

    Allow me to preface this by saying I am not a fan of George Steinbrenner or the New York Yankees. But to deny what the man did for baseball would be outrageous. When this book first came out, I knew it was something I wanted to read. I head off, however, and when I recently invested in a Kindle, this was the first book I got. I'm glad I did. I like the way Bill Madden wrote this book -- from the eyes of everyone else, but at the same time with glimpses from Steinbrenner as well. This might be the Allow me to preface this by saying I am not a fan of George Steinbrenner or the New York Yankees. But to deny what the man did for baseball would be outrageous. When this book first came out, I knew it was something I wanted to read. I head off, however, and when I recently invested in a Kindle, this was the first book I got. I'm glad I did. I like the way Bill Madden wrote this book -- from the eyes of everyone else, but at the same time with glimpses from Steinbrenner as well. This might be the best book ever written on this man. It shows areas where many may have have already hears -- the way he treated employees, opponents and others -- to the softer side of the Boss. Such as how he always seemed to show regrets on firing somebody or how he always seemed to take care of people who had been Yankees. There are times I laughed, felt disbelief and was saddened. To see anyone -- especially somebody such as Steinbrenner -- grow old and sick is tough. This book shows you truly what the Yankees went through during these times. It's a true, in-depth look at Steinbrenner, his life and his team. The relationships he had with Billy Martin, Gene Michael and many other Yankee names. How the Yogi saga was finally put to rest. When I ended this book, I didn't have any questions. I would call this a must-read for Yankee fans and true baseball fans. Even borderline fans could probably enjoy and take away from it a bit more about the Boss. I wouldn't have read many books on baseball owners, but for a man such as Steinbrenner, I did and it was well worth it. I easily give this book 5 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I guess I am in agreement with a majority of the ones who have read and critiqued Bill Maddon's depiction of Steinbrenner. I am also a lifelong Yankee fan who cringed everytime Steinbrenner opened his mouth to the press on a Yankee disappointment because it usually led to the firing of one manager after another. One would have thought he would have mellowed after the second banishment, but he kept on going. There were some wonderful moments in the book that Maddon wrote to show Steinbrenner in a I guess I am in agreement with a majority of the ones who have read and critiqued Bill Maddon's depiction of Steinbrenner. I am also a lifelong Yankee fan who cringed everytime Steinbrenner opened his mouth to the press on a Yankee disappointment because it usually led to the firing of one manager after another. One would have thought he would have mellowed after the second banishment, but he kept on going. There were some wonderful moments in the book that Maddon wrote to show Steinbrenner in a better light...his concern for Thurman Munson's family and strides he took to see that the Munsons were taken care of and that the Yankees were able to pay their respects to their fallen captain. His charity to causes and to employees in need were also noted. However, Madden's book focused more on Steinbrenner, the unforgiving owner who expected perfection every season, expected loyalty from every person and demanded attention from the players, the owners, MLB and the press that covered the circus known as the "Bronx Zoo." We Yankee fans salute his memory, his seven World Series titles, 11 American League pennants and the stars he brought to New York. Who knows what could have happenned if he'd let the baseball people lead the effort.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This is a well-done biography of Steinbrenner, and I walk away thinking we have perhaps recently been engaged in bit of revisionist history about him. Without hammering the reader, the parade of GM after GM, manager after manager, and insane rant after insane rant reminds us that Steinbrenner really was a bully. Most baseball followers know the higher visibility dealings with Billy Martin and the string of managers, but some of the details of other staff are amazing. He made an employee carry a This is a well-done biography of Steinbrenner, and I walk away thinking we have perhaps recently been engaged in bit of revisionist history about him. Without hammering the reader, the parade of GM after GM, manager after manager, and insane rant after insane rant reminds us that Steinbrenner really was a bully. Most baseball followers know the higher visibility dealings with Billy Martin and the string of managers, but some of the details of other staff are amazing. He made an employee carry a bag of garbage around with him all day after he saw it not picked up from the suites. He threatened to fire people because it was raining and a game was postponed. Also, after he fired managers, he often then made overtures to get them back. Anyone ever work for a boss who was unpredictable, micromanaged, acted impulsively, and kept had a hair-trigger on the button to fire people? Ugh! Recent defenses that "he was a winner" don't make this right. These views of Steinbrenner's character, however, are part of what makes this an interesting read (and it isn't a hatchet job). The book contains a lot of details and behind-the-scenes looks that I wasn't aware of (or was too young to appreciate). I think both Yankee lovers and haters will enjoy this book (although I find it hard to speak for the latter category, as a member of the former).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Having started watching the Yankees during the strike-shortened season of 1994 I have really lived a charmed life watching the Yankees. No losing seasons and multiple championships. Bill Madden's book about Steinbrenner does a great job telling the story of the man who created the Yankees I know. Since his death, I have been hoping that George Steinbrenner would get nominated to the Baseball Hall of Fame and would be a lock to get in. But after reading this book I am not sure he is deserving of t Having started watching the Yankees during the strike-shortened season of 1994 I have really lived a charmed life watching the Yankees. No losing seasons and multiple championships. Bill Madden's book about Steinbrenner does a great job telling the story of the man who created the Yankees I know. Since his death, I have been hoping that George Steinbrenner would get nominated to the Baseball Hall of Fame and would be a lock to get in. But after reading this book I am not sure he is deserving of that honor. Did "The Boss" change the business of baseball as we know it, absolutely! But this man was also the biggest bully of them all and his actions make it hard for me to say he is deserving of that honor. He made countless numbers of his employees lives miserable. He hurt people's feelings, ruined friendships and engaged in criminal acts. After reading this book I know I could never work for The Boss. Other than the man himself, the book is a wonderful read where you can learn about the Yankees, the trades, the signings, and the business of baseball. I would certainly recommend this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This was a very readable and informative, yet uneven, portrait of George Steinbrenner. It excels at sketching out specifics of Yankees history from the early 70's up until the 2000's, but largely leaves the rest of Steinbrenner's life untouched. You will get incredibly detailed reporting of his 9 to 5 life, but little else that might explain what really made him tick. I came into this book already essentially detesting him, thinking of him as the person who turned the Yankees into the most hated This was a very readable and informative, yet uneven, portrait of George Steinbrenner. It excels at sketching out specifics of Yankees history from the early 70's up until the 2000's, but largely leaves the rest of Steinbrenner's life untouched. You will get incredibly detailed reporting of his 9 to 5 life, but little else that might explain what really made him tick. I came into this book already essentially detesting him, thinking of him as the person who turned the Yankees into the most hated team in baseball, the person who made Yankees tickets all but unaffordable and the one who tore down a landmark of a stadium for a crappy cookie cutter replica. That is largely unchanged now. If anything, I now have even less respect for him given how amateurishly he dealt with nearly all of his subordinates. His temper tantrums were hilariously covered, and by the end of the book you wonder why anyone would ever work (much less play) for him. But, after all his said and done, he has success on his side. No owner in recent history has been nearly as successful as him, so I guess you have to give him credit there. If nothing else, it is a great trip through memory lane for Yankees fans.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball is a comprehensive look at Steinbrenner's ownership years with the Yankees. It is a well-researched and balanced book that paints a full portrait of the former Yankees owner from the questionable business practices he employed to the abusive personality he unleashed on many a manager, player, and front office employee. Later in life, Steinbrenner would seem to mellow and attempt to make amends for his past grievous sins, but he would have much to atone for Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball is a comprehensive look at Steinbrenner's ownership years with the Yankees. It is a well-researched and balanced book that paints a full portrait of the former Yankees owner from the questionable business practices he employed to the abusive personality he unleashed on many a manager, player, and front office employee. Later in life, Steinbrenner would seem to mellow and attempt to make amends for his past grievous sins, but he would have much to atone for. The book alternates from painting broad brushstrokes of situations that arose during the owner's tenure with revealing finer details about what went on behind the scenes often exacerbating this original situation. For all the wealth of information on the era, one shortcoming is that the book is not very organized. It follows a pseudo-chronological order, but jumps around from year to year bringing in tangents somewhat related to the current story, when said current story could have used more context.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    George was a man of many emotions, the sad thing is why he could not keep the good as part of his everyday persona. Being a lifetime Yankee fan, it began at birth when my father presented me with an autographed Babe Ruth baseball when he crossed paths with the Great Bambino, Sultan of Swat, The Titan of Terror. I cringed on his treatment of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield, Billy Williams. Andy Petit, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and on and on and on. George was determined to bring the glory George was a man of many emotions, the sad thing is why he could not keep the good as part of his everyday persona. Being a lifetime Yankee fan, it began at birth when my father presented me with an autographed Babe Ruth baseball when he crossed paths with the Great Bambino, Sultan of Swat, The Titan of Terror. I cringed on his treatment of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Dave Winfield, Billy Williams. Andy Petit, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and on and on and on. George was determined to bring the glory days back to the Yankees, which he did, and that I am grateful. However, the way he did may be too much to be desired with his bringing into the historic Yankee fold Reggie Jackson, a me player and the unforgettable of all trades, A-Roid, a liar and cheater. These two, in my opinion, did fit the mold of a True Yankee: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Thurman Munson, Mariano Rivera and the countless other Yanks who understood the importance of what a Yankee was.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Nelson

    One of the more impressive biographies I have read. Deep in texture, Steinbrenner is a fascinating character in the world of Major League Baseball. The anecdotes and stories of the Yankee owner from 1973 to present day are a noteworthy collection to the new age of baseball. There are passages that made me audibly laugh. Author Bill Madden has written the authoritative biography of "The Boss." It is an impressive read with impeccable reporting. Steinbrenner is an intriguing character and this boo One of the more impressive biographies I have read. Deep in texture, Steinbrenner is a fascinating character in the world of Major League Baseball. The anecdotes and stories of the Yankee owner from 1973 to present day are a noteworthy collection to the new age of baseball. There are passages that made me audibly laugh. Author Bill Madden has written the authoritative biography of "The Boss." It is an impressive read with impeccable reporting. Steinbrenner is an intriguing character and this book is a complete collection of some of the more entertaining stories of a sports figure that you will find. It is an utterly fascinating study of human interaction and success. The mercurial Steinbrenner comes to life in this book. I highly recommend reading this book. You will not be disappointed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    John Loconsolo

    I feel that that is a very fair depiction of the man George Steinbrenner was. Madden did not hold back and did not sugar coat in his book. As a life long Yankee fan born in the late 70's, I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories that Madden wrote about. Steinbrenner certainly was an interesting man, he was definitely a bully, definitely passionate about winning, and definitely made many a mistakes while running this organization, but he also was the main reason, be it directly or indirectl I feel that that is a very fair depiction of the man George Steinbrenner was. Madden did not hold back and did not sugar coat in his book. As a life long Yankee fan born in the late 70's, I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories that Madden wrote about. Steinbrenner certainly was an interesting man, he was definitely a bully, definitely passionate about winning, and definitely made many a mistakes while running this organization, but he also was the main reason, be it directly or indirectly that the Yankees are the dominant, successful franchise and business that they are today. This is a great biography. It will at times make you hate Steinbrenner for his meddling, appreciate him for his passion, and feel bad for him in his later years. A must read for Yankee and non-Yankee fans alike.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I approached this as a baseball fan and as a fan of business books. It's interesting to see how organizations operate and are managed. This story was the story of the bully as boss. Did he have redeeming traits? Some, but they sure didn't overwhelm the bullying of his employees in the narrative of this book. If this were a novel, the antagonist would have had second thoughts prior to the end. It doesn't seem to have happened here. That left the end a bit unsatisfying, no send off, just a fading I approached this as a baseball fan and as a fan of business books. It's interesting to see how organizations operate and are managed. This story was the story of the bully as boss. Did he have redeeming traits? Some, but they sure didn't overwhelm the bullying of his employees in the narrative of this book. If this were a novel, the antagonist would have had second thoughts prior to the end. It doesn't seem to have happened here. That left the end a bit unsatisfying, no send off, just a fading away to an abrupt ending. I tried to put myself into his shoes in various places in the narrative, and I just couldn't imagine coming up with the responses he did - he seems a very unique individual.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Parker Mills

    I thought the book was extremely well done in the early years of Steinbrenner's ownership. It focused on his true business genius of how he was able to put the deal together and remain on top and in charge in spite of numerous challenges and problems. My only complaints are that as the years went by the author focused more and more on what Steinbrenner did wrong and not a word was given for what he did right. It is well known that he was a bully and "The Boss", but for everyone time he continuou I thought the book was extremely well done in the early years of Steinbrenner's ownership. It focused on his true business genius of how he was able to put the deal together and remain on top and in charge in spite of numerous challenges and problems. My only complaints are that as the years went by the author focused more and more on what Steinbrenner did wrong and not a word was given for what he did right. It is well known that he was a bully and "The Boss", but for everyone time he continuously intimidated and fired someone, he was growing the Yankee empire. He bought the team for $8M and it is now worth over $1B. I would have liked to have seen more detail on his persistence in making that happen. Overall, I loved the book and plan to re-read it in about a year.

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