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Remembering George Steinbrenner and the day I met the man.

I was very fortunate. I actually meet George Steinbrenner, when I was 10 years old. For those of you who know about my musical background, you will remember that my father was and still is a very accomplished musician. At the time, he was working for a synthesizer company based in the Yonkers.

As such, he was invited to play the organ and the after mentioned synthesizer at Yankee stadium during the 7th inning stretch and before the game. I can still remember the game, Yanks vs. A’s. Yanks won. As my dad was want to do, he took me along for the experience and to go to Yankee stadium. Before the game in the late morning the Public Relations guy was walking me, my dad and one of his colleagues around Yankee stadium for a tour and to check out the organ/synth set up, and who do we run into? George!

We are introduced, shake hands and then George squats down into a catcher position and starts asking me about my favorite Yankee players, and just as suddenly, he jumps up and says come with me young man. As I followed in his wake not sure where this guy is taking me, he takes my into the Yankee’s “pro shop” and store area, and loads me up with Yankee’s stuff – hats, bats, batting gloves, batting helmets, rain coat slickers, stickers, t-shirts, etc. I mean loads me up. I need to large bags to carry all this stuff.

He tells me that “these are things every Yankee fan should have” and proceeds to tell the Public Relations guy to make sure we are taken care of, enjoy the game, and he was gone. Just like that.

Now two things occur to me, one I have no clue who this guy was other than what the PR guys tells us in the intro. Yes, he’s the owner of the NY Yankee’s, etc. But at 10 years old, that doesn’t really mean anything to me. Second, I wasn’t sure how to explain that I was more of a Red Sox fan. Did he have any Yaz or Jim Rice stuff?

But its more complicated than that, I was actually a Yankee’s fan as well, Reggie, Bucky, etc. Yes, I know this creates a cosmic disturbance in the universe and it is hard to explain. But there is a legitimate rational and explanation that I don’t have time to discuss in this posting. But trust me. Finally, on this point….. this dichotomy still is in existence and has filtered down to my one Son who is a Sox fan, but loves Derrick Jeeter and also follows and routes for the Yanks as well as the Sox! This of course creates a problem when the Yank’s play the Sox. but I digress.

Where was I, oh yes, so… in that flurry of a chance meeting in a hall way, I met a man larger than life, kind, decisive and ready to take a little boy and give him the world at Yankee Stadium (The old one) At least that’s what it seemed like to me. I was so impressed with his kindness to me, personal attention, and direct interest in me and what I had to say, that I always maintained a great affinity and liking for him and the Yanks. Say what you will about him and his management style. But to me, a 10 year old kid who loves baseball, he was kind, personally and genuinely interested in what I had to say, and funny to be with. He made a huge positive impression on me. Plus, he gave me free stuff. Those are all golden when your 10!

As you can imagine, my great day in the Bronx progressed to having lunch in the Yankee’s private cafeteria (Where I got to meet more Yankee’s), go into the locker room and meet some great players who were also very kind to me, walk the field, get my picture taken with Bucky Dent in the dug out, watch the game in the press box ( More free food and ice cream!) and see my dad play the organ and synthesizer with his name on the big screen in center-field.

Pretty awesome! George will be missed both in baseball and in the business world. I will miss him and will forever remember him for his kindness to me. He was a class act.

-DF

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Written by David Frederick

July 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

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