07 May 2005

Peter Golenbock on Steinbrenner...

In a recent interview with Peter Golenbock at RedSoxNation.net, Don Hyslop asked the author of Bronx Zoo, Idiot, Dynasty and recently, Red Sox Nation a question about George Steinbrenner's handling of some of the Yankee past:

RSN: Speaking of the Yankees, is it true Peter, that Steinbrenner destroyed much of the historical records of the Yankees when he took over the team?

PG: Oh yeah! When I was writing Dynasty, which was my first book, I was in the Yankee Stadium archives and had access to all the material I needed. Michael Burke, who was the owner then, gave me complete freedom to go through everything and use what I needed. If you read the book, Dynasty, you read a letter from one of the Yankee scouts to George Weiss saying that he should sign the black players that he had scouted. Of course, Weiss didn’t do it, but for a different reason than in Boston. Weiss was afraid that if he signed black players it would cause many of the white customers to stay away from the Stadium. He finally brought Elston Howard to the Yanks, years after Robinson was signed. I found wonderful documents about all this in the Yankee Archives, and when George renovated the Stadium in 73-74 he took all of that historical material and threw it in the garbage.

RSN: What was his rationale for that action?

PG: He has no respect for history. It was cheaper for him to do that than to protect it. To him it was just junk, so throw it out! There might have been other skeletons in the closet, and maybe that was part of his reason as well.


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