52° Good Evening
52° Good Evening

Unlike sons, George Steinbrenner threw weight around

Combine Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and both still fall far short of their fiery father. 

At the very least, both have a long way to catch up to dad's antics.  A few comments tossed at players--the mansion dig directed at Derek Jeter-- will not cut it. .

Spring training, 1982, showed a vintage George Steinbrenner. Lou Piniella reported overweight and Steinbrenner went after him with more than words.

Piniella had just signed a three-year, $1.125 million contract--good money at that time  for a 38-year-old player--but Steinbrenner made him report to camp at no more than 200 pounds.

Piniella arrived at 215 pounds and Steinbrenner assigned him to a trainer. Steinbrenner said Piniella would be fined $7,000 and $1,000 more each day until he reached 200.

Of course, George made a big public display.

``Sometimes, Lou has to be treated like a 19-year-old," Steinbrenner said at the time.  "Everybody in Tampa will tell you that. I've got it in black and white. He knew about the weight clause. He knew what he was signing. If I'm a man and my employer was paying me $350,000 a year, which is more than the president of the United States is making, and there are 10 million unemployed people out there earning nothing in this country, I'd sure as hell take seven pounds off to honor my contract. Some day Lou Piniella will be out of baseball and in business. Boy, he'd last five days in business."

Steinbrenner, as the story played out, probably never collected on the fines. But it made for an interesting spring training.

New York Sports