Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Steinbrenner, Munson Levine…A month of Yankee leadership

January seems to be the month where things get ignited throughout the Yankee Universe. Especially when it came to their leadership.

The three greatest leaders that I have witnessed in my 50 years around the Yanks organization naturally starts with George Steinbrenner.

On January 3rd of 1973 he along with a group of businessmen purchased the Yankees from the CBS television network and turned it into the greatest sports company in history.

On January 24 of 1976 Mr. Steinbrenner knew that with the type of blue-collar no-nonsense street-wise team, he had put together, he needed a leader to keep order in what the boss knew could be a turbulent clubhouse.

In Thurman Munson, he had a guy that didn’t take any crap from anyone. You knew that just in the way he played the game day in and day out ever since he first got to the Bronx seven years before. Thurman fought the Boss about being named captain. Thurman said leaders lead by example. He also said that in 1939 then Yankee Manager had promised an ailing Lou Gehrig that there would never be another Yankee Captain. George Steinbrenner countered that by saying that if Joe McCarthy had known Thurman Lee Munson under the present-day Yankee situation, he would of made Thurman the Captain also. At that point, Thurman agreed. When the Boss said that he would have equipment manager Pete Sheehy put a C for Captain on his shirt Thurman said that was not going to happen, and it didn’t.

As you know in the case of Thurman Munson, he would go on to win the most valuable player award that year and win 3 consecutive gold glove awards for fielding excellence but most importantly lead the Bronx Bombers to three pennants and two World Championships. I must add that because of the different types of personalities that we had in that clubhouse only Thurman Munson could have led them. Without Munson, there is no possible way we win and Steinbrenner knew that… that’s why he was the Boss.

In January of 2023 A. C. Milan, one of the world’s most powerful football (soccer) organizations named N. Y. Yankee team President Randy Levine to their board of directors.

I’m not going to pretend that I know Soccor because I don’t. I do know that football, as it is known worldwide may be the biggest sport in the world. This I learned from the late Yankee co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner. He use to talk to me for hours about the sport that he loved probably more than baseball.

With that being said it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why A. C. Milan would be thrilled at having Randy Levine on their board of directors.

In my long history around George Steinbrenner and the Yankees, I have had the pleasure of knowing all the Team Presidents. I guess you can say that I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Let me cut to the chase. Randy Levine is by far the best President that the Yankees have ever had. I don’t think I’m saying something that makes me so smart. It’s just a matter of common sense. I have known Levine for about 25 years and have gotten to understand the magnitude of the man.

No one, but no one will ever love the Yankee brand and live and die for it like George Steinbrenner but I will say Levine is definitely in the top three behind the Boss.

I always knew why the Boss needed Levine to help guide the Yankee global experience into the 21st century and Levine has done just that. If I mention all the accomplishments achieved by and for the Yankee Universe we will be here all day. I will only say that the YES network is a small example of what the Steinbrenner family under the guidance of Levine has been able to accomplish. I won’t get into the other major vehicles accomplished because it’s just way over my head.

I will take the time to congratulate A. C. Milan for the wise move in landing Randy Levine on their board of directors.

They just made their brand that much more powerful!

I guess there just is something mystical about the month of January in the Yankee Universe.

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