PRESS RELEASE (BOX)
I want to sincerely
apologize to the people of New York and to the fans
of the New York Yankees everywhere for the
performance of the Yankee team in the World Series.
I also want to assure you that we will be at work
immediately to prepare for 1982. –George
Steinbrenner’s apology came in the form of a release
which he passed out after we won the series. I
though it was strange. The Yankees had given all
they could to win. There was really no need to
apologize for an all out effort by your team.
“The Boss” did much more
than apologize. He kicked ass and rolled heads. He
demeaned Dave Winfield, who had managed but one hit
in 21 at-bats in the Series. Having signed him to a
huge contract, Steinbrenner was furious at "Winny,"
dubbing him “Mr. May,” a sarcastic reference to
Winfield’s peak performance in May and poor
performance in the Fall Classic.
On January 22, 1982, Reggie
Jackson irritated by Steinbrenner putdowns,
signed as a Free Agent with the California
The commencement of the 1982
season at the Stadium was a hard time coming and as
far as Yankee fans were concerned – largely not
worth waiting for. Bob Lemon, who had managed the
final 25 games in 1981 last only through 14 games in
On April 6th, almost a foot of
snow cancelled Opening Day against Texas and the
next game, too. It was April 11th before the
ballpark was finally in shape for playing baseball.
In recognition of how hard the grounds crew worked
to make the field ready, crew chief Jimmy Esposito
was given the honor of throwing out the first ball.
The Yankees lost both games of an Easter Sunday
doubleheader to Chicago. But at least their season
was finally underway.
The roster had what Yogi Berra
would call “deep depth” with a pitching staff
featuring splendid southpaws Ron Guidry, Tommy John,
and Dave Righetti. Goose Gossage was a
flame-throwing stopper. Still, even with all that
talent, the Yankees could not get it going. In June,
they were 9 1 /2 games out.
On August 3rd, the White Sox took
two from the Yankees at the Stadium and “the Boss”
fired Gene Michael, who had replaced Bob Lemon,
replacing him with Clyde King.
All season long Steinbrenner kept
his circus jumping, seeking quick fixes. Beyond a
trio of managers, he went through a merry-go-round
of three hitting coaches, five pitching coaches, and
47 players. The chaos and the musical chairs did not
make for an environment that suited a winning ball
The 1982 Yankees were not a
winning club. They ended the season in fifth place,
16 games behind Milwaukee. They would not return to
post-season play for the next 13 years. From that
season until 1991, with George Steinbrenner having
his say and having his way, the Stadium would become
a mix and match of players and pilots. Highlighting
the mayhem of the era were eleven managerial changes
including the hiring and firing of Billy Martin six
times. “They know what the bottom line is,”
Steinbrenner said. . . .