• Hey, At Least Hank Didn’t Suggest Rod Scurry Or Al Holland

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    The daily “Get To Know Hank” story for today. From Mark Kriegel this time:

    “Some of his statements were surprising to me,” said Harvey Greene, who served valiantly (if thanklessly) as the Yankee PR man in the Dark Ages from ’86 to ’89. “He was never outspoken like that.”

    Hank chose the worst of all possible years to apprentice in the family business. It was 1986, a season that saw his father’s nightmare become reality with the Mets and the Red Sox meeting in the World Series. George the Elder was at his worst: bitching and bullying and firing employees at will. Green, now senior vice president for media relations with the Miami Dolphins recalls being sacked “about five times” in his Yankees career.

    None of this was lost on Hank, then a 28-year-old with a taste for Led Zeppelin. The great Hank story — and it is told several ways, though not by Greene — has him being asked what it would take for the team to exhibit sustained improvement. “Simple,” said Hank. “Get rid of my father.”

    He was kidding. Or was he?

    “Hank was a decent guy,” recalls another former Yankee employee. “He wasn’t going to fire a secretary over a tuna fish sandwich. He never had George’s temper.”

    “He could laugh at himself and laugh at his father, which not many people could do,” says Greene. “Hank didn’t want to be heavy-handed. He didn’t like when people got berated. He was more sensitive.”

    That’s not to say he enjoyed being laughed at, either, as he was after saying Dave Righetti should rejoin the rotation. The closer’s duties, he added, should go to someone named Alfonso Pulido. As these suggestions were greeted with near universal scorn, one can’t help but think that Hank acquired the hard way what George never would: humility.

    Hank Steinbrenner left his father’s team not long after that episode. The baseball business — at least as it was practiced in the Bronx and Tampa — was not for him. He didn’t need the limelight. He didn’t need to be the Boss’ son. He did something not many have been able to do — leave the New York Yankees of his own volition.

    “He had the courage to walk away from his father,” says Greene.

    Alfonso Pulido. Gotta love it.

    Comments on Hey, At Least Hank Didn’t Suggest Rod Scurry Or Al Holland

    1. jonm
      November 27th, 2007 | 1:40 pm

      Hank’s suggestion of moving Righetti back to the rotation in 1986 was not a good one because Righetti had been established as a reliever for many years, but I can see Hank’s logic.

      Good starters are always worth more than good relievers and the 80s Yankees certainly lacked good starters. In retrospect, the decision to move Righetti to the bullpen in 1984 to replace Gossage was a terrible one. I bet that the Yankees would have won the AL East in 1985 with Righetti as a starter and an average closer.

      I also remember Pulido (I even believe that I remember his number — 47). He was a screwball pitcher whose stuff had been touted by the Yankees. He was older because he had played in the Mexican League. As his numbers show, he had some great seasons in the minors.
      He must have had an injury because his career seemed to end very quickly.

    2. Straylightrise
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:07 pm

      You know when Steve Swindall left there was some speculation about the team. Well Hank Steinbrenner has already stepped into his father’s shoes. Yet I am kind of glad this transition finally happened. The Yankees have been a shell since 2000 and with the youth moving into the organizaion (starting with Cashman and now Giraldi,Hank,Cano,Wang,Cabrera,Hughes,Chamberlin and Kennedy) I have faith that the Yankees will be a new team, a fiery team. I am excited to see what happens this season, I can guess that Hank REALLY wants to win a World Series. Should be fun

    3. JeremyM
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:29 pm

      Anyone get a Michael Corleone vibe from hank? “Hey, whaddaya gonna do, nice college boy, eh? Didn’t want to get mixed up in the Family business, huh?”

    4. JeremyM
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:32 pm

      To add to that, I can picture him being told after the A-Rod opt out: “This is business, and this man is taking it very, very personal.”

    5. Raf
      November 27th, 2007 | 2:37 pm

      I still think releasing Knucksie was a mistake. He would’ve helped in ’86.

    6. MJ
      November 27th, 2007 | 4:11 pm

      Anyone get a Michael Corleone vibe from hank? “Hey, whaddaya gonna do, nice college boy, eh? Didn’t want to get mixed up in the Family business, huh?”
      Hank’s bombast would make him more like Santino “Sonny” Corleone. Hal seems like the quiet Michael. Which I guess made Swindal Fredo since he had it all and squandered it. Either that or Swindal was Carlo because he married into the family but got snuffed out pretty quickly.

    7. Rich
      November 27th, 2007 | 7:16 pm

      Righetti should have remained in the rotation.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.