Mitchell Reports | July 13, 2010
>>> the baseball world, the city of new york , yankees fans across the nation responding to the news that the legendary owner george steinbrenner has died of a heart attack at the age of 80 after years of declining health. the boss took a lagging franchise and made them relevant again, bringing seven world series championships to the most storied franchise in the sport's history. joining us now on the phone, dodgers hitting coach and former yankees first baseman don mattingly . great to hear from you. let's talk about george steinbrenner , the man who made you get a haircut. you want to reminisce?
>> sure. well, you know, he was the boss.
>> he was tough, right?
>> yeah, he was tough and he was demanding, but he was one of those guys that, you know, again, he was demanding from his players. he wanted the best. he wanted to win. you know, he was all wrapped up in one. he was a fan of the yankees , he just wanted it all.
>> i mean, he's very controversial, though. for many of us who are lifelong yankee fans, and you know, i grew up in the shadow of the stadium as a kid, there were pluses and minuses. how would you, as hard as it is, just after someone has died, talk about george steinbrenner and what it was like to work for him?
>> well, again, i think he could be tough. and like you said, there's always pluses and minuses. when it's always after the fact you remember all the good things, but mr. steinbrenner was tough. you knew when he was in the building. when he was going to be there, everybody was on their toes. you know, you knew the boss was going to be there today. all, you know, from top to bottom, i think you knew that he was there. and he put that kind of pressure. he had an expectation for winning and performance like no other, and he expected the best and he expected it every day. and anything else other than that was just not enough.
>> don, you and joe torre and your other, you know, colleagues there with the dodgers, do you think the yankees would ever have been as great as they are and were, the seven championships under steinbrenner, if he had not been as tough as he was?
>> oh, no way. i mean, i think if you look really to when he bought the club, and everybody thinks about the yankees the way they are right now presently, but when he bought the club, they were in a down syndrome. there wasn't the excitement around the organization. i think we all -- there was probably a lot of us that could have came up with the $100,000 he came up with to buy the club, and to what he's built it to now is really amazing and i think a tribute to what he's been about. like you said, that toughness and that never-ending drive to get better and to succeed and build it bigger and build it better. all that is really a tribute to him and what he wanted to do at the yankees .
>> don mattingly , a great pitching coach, and we want to thank you. former yankee . always be a yankee to many of us. thanks so much,