You're fired ... and rehired!
A Jay Buhner reaction to George Steinbrenner's death
I never met George Steinbrenner, but he's a figure that looms large in my family. No, we're not Yankee fans. We're not-so-distant relatives of a certain Jay Buhner.
So hearing that the 80-year-old Steinbrenner died of a massive heart attack this morning hit me a little differently than most. After all, Steinbrenner infamously once traded away our Jay for Ken Phelps, a move that's widely regarded as one of the worst deals in recent baseball memory.
Steinbrenner might have helmed the gold standard of American professional sports teams, leading the Yankees from an era of mediocrity in 1973 to seven World Series championships before officially handing the reins over to his sons Hal and Hank.
Steinbrenner passed away at his home in Tampa after years of failing health that left his public appearances rarer and rarer. His death comes on the same day that Major League Baseball will play its annual All-Star Game and just two days after beloved Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard died at age 99.
Even with all the championships, Steinbrenner likely will be most remembered as the guy who fired, rehired and refired managers at an amazing pace.
Steinbrenner could be blustery but he knew how to laugh at — and market — himself and his team. Thus with his permission in the 1990s, the hit show Seinfeld made Steinbrenner a regular character. Jerry's Steinbrenner was always shot from behind (never showing his face) and voiced by show creator Larry David, after George Costanza got a job at the Yankees.
But even on this day we have to ask: What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for!