George Steinbrenner III died today, and while I won't celebrate his death, I also will not celebrate his life.
Steinbrenner was a liar and bully. He was born on third base and not only thought he'd hit a triple but that he was being cheated of home as well. He dealt with his insecurities by belittling all around him. He bore all his life the aura of a spoiled, petulant child.
I'm sure he was a more complex man than that description admits. Most humans are. Yet it is amply supported by the public record, and it is a persona he appeared to not only accept but revel in.
He assembled the consortium that purchased the Yankees in 1973, and the team won seven World Series between then and now. An impressive record, yes — but the foundations for all those championship teams were laid during his two lengthy suspensions, when he was officially banned from active participation in running the franchise.
He will, I'm sure, someday have a plaque in the Hall of Fame. That plaque, no matter how carefully worded, is unlikely to affect my long-distance assessment of the man: He may not have been the biggest cavity of a horse's behind in baseball history, but he was in the running.