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Legendary New York Yankees architect George Steinbrenner knew how to pitch some tough love.
Steinbrenner came from a generation different than the softballs in today’s sports — which nearly pushed former Yanks pitcher David Wells over the edge back in ’97.
Wells appeared on the Toeing the Slab podcast on Wednesday and told a twisted tale of how he earned Steinbrenner’s respect — a trial-by-fire type of relationship.
The former pitcher went to Steinbrenner to suggest some changes to Yankee Stadium’s infrastructure after a fan snatched a home run. In response, Steinbrenner decided to put Wells in his place for making executive suggestions.
“I go, ‘George, you gotta do something with that fence. Last year it benefitted you, and today it hurt us,'” Wells said.
Wells noted that Steinbrenner’s response came way out of left field.
“He looked at me and goes, ‘You ain’t no pitcher.’ I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘You ain’t the pitcher I signed.'”
Wells didn’t take the comment well.
“Well, that pissed me off. I got in his face. I threatened to kick his ass. … I pitched 7-8 innings that day,” Wells recalled, telling the podcast he was ready to throw the dukes up against the unyielding owner.
Wells went on, “I said, ‘if you’re still in here after I get ice, I’m gonna beat the s—t out of you.’ [Steinbrenner] goes, ‘I’m not afraid of you’ and he got in my face. I go, hmm, ok, we’ll see. Sure enough, I went in, got ice, and came out and he’s sitting there right in front of my locker.”
Unshaken by Wells’ threat, Steinbrenner stood his ground and was eventually chased around the locker room like a Tom and Jerry scene.
After meeting with then-Yankees manager Joe Torre, the two squashed their old-school beef without any hard feelings to spare.
“We talked. We hashed it out,” Wells said. “He got up. He gave me a big old hug. A kiss on the cheek. He goes, ‘You’re my guy.’ That’s kind of how I won George Steinbrenner over.”
Steinbrenner helped run the Yankees since 1973, continuing his work until he died in 2010.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
One CommentLeave a Reply
Didn’t do shit