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Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  913 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if you’re just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily New ...more
Hardcover, 457 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Harper
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Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Whenever I contemplate reading a biography, I always consider the author, and if they had a relationship with the person being written of. I prefer not to read what Lester Bangs classified as “puff pieces”, instead, opting for an author that owed no allegiance to the subject. Bill Madden covered the Yankees as beat writer for New York’s Daily News, spanning thirty years. Given the controversial nature of Steinbrenner, the only realistic way Madden could write this book was to do so, head-on. In ...more
Lisa K
Nov 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked it at first but I think I picked the wrong time to read a book that is mostly a lunatic billionaire yelling a lot.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Detailed account of Steinbrenner and his relationships with managers, players, former players, fellow owners.
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a good portrait of George Steinbrenner written by someone who was there. Madden has put together a fascinating portrait which should be of interest to Yankee fans and anyone interested in the modern business of sports.

Steinbrenner was clearly a smart, talented businessman whose passion for winning helped revitalize a franchise that had become moribund. His insistence that the franchise operate in a "first class" manner -- from upgrading training facilities to making sure the luxury boxe
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a fairly detailed book about George Steinbrenner that draws heavily on anecdotes from his business associates, family, former employees, and others that were within his sphere of influence. Quite a bit of the material was just condensing and rehashing of news stories from Steinbrenner's four decades of owning the Yankees, but there were some great behind the scenes stories too.

Madden does a good job showing the irrationality of Steinbrenner and leaves us with the impression that it all s
May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
It's funny: I'm 28 and started following the Yankees seriously around 1994, the strike year, so all I've known is unthinkable success and stability. Certainly that's how the Yankee brass wants you to remember the Steinbrenner era -- just look at the YES Network's love-fest for the man on their Yankeeography show; all the guests tripped over themselves to out-praise Steinbrenner.

Sometimes you have to be reminded that immediately preceding the 15+ years of winning since the strike ended was a peri
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Allow me to preface this by saying I am not a fan of George Steinbrenner or the New York Yankees. But to deny what the man did for baseball would be outrageous. When this book first came out, I knew it was something I wanted to read. I head off, however, and when I recently invested in a Kindle, this was the first book I got.

I'm glad I did.

I like the way Bill Madden wrote this book -- from the eyes of everyone else, but at the same time with glimpses from Steinbrenner as well. This might be the
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
I guess I am in agreement with a majority of the ones who have read and critiqued Bill Maddon's depiction of Steinbrenner. I am also a lifelong Yankee fan who cringed everytime Steinbrenner opened his mouth to the press on a Yankee disappointment because it usually led to the firing of one manager after another. One would have thought he would have mellowed after the second banishment, but he kept on going.

There were some wonderful moments in the book that Maddon wrote to show Steinbrenner in a
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a well-done biography of Steinbrenner, and I walk away thinking we have perhaps recently been engaged in bit of revisionist history about him.

Without hammering the reader, the parade of GM after GM, manager after manager, and insane rant after insane rant reminds us that Steinbrenner really was a bully. Most baseball followers know the higher visibility dealings with Billy Martin and the string of managers, but some of the details of other staff are amazing. He made an employee carry a
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a very readable and informative, yet uneven, portrait of George Steinbrenner. It excels at sketching out specifics of Yankees history from the early 70's up until the 2000's, but largely leaves the rest of Steinbrenner's life untouched.
You will get incredibly detailed reporting of his 9 to 5 life, but little else that might explain what really made him tick.
I came into this book already essentially detesting him, thinking of him as the person who turned the Yankees into the most hated
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having started watching the Yankees during the strike-shortened season of 1994 I have really lived a charmed life watching the Yankees. No losing seasons and multiple championships. Bill Madden's book about Steinbrenner does a great job telling the story of the man who created the Yankees I know.

Since his death, I have been hoping that George Steinbrenner would get nominated to the Baseball Hall of Fame and would be a lock to get in. But after reading this book I am not sure he is deserving of t
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball is a comprehensive look at Steinbrenner's ownership years with the Yankees. It is a well-researched and balanced book that paints a full portrait of the former Yankees owner from the questionable business practices he employed to the abusive personality he unleashed on many a manager, player, and front office employee. Later in life, Steinbrenner would seem to mellow and attempt to make amends for his past grievous sins, but he would have much to atone for ...more
John Loconsolo
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I feel that that is a very fair depiction of the man George Steinbrenner was. Madden did not hold back and did not sugar coat in his book. As a life long Yankee fan born in the late 70's, I really enjoyed the behind the scenes stories that Madden wrote about. Steinbrenner certainly was an interesting man, he was definitely a bully, definitely passionate about winning, and definitely made many a mistakes while running this organization, but he also was the main reason, be it directly or indirectl ...more
Daniel Nelson
Jul 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the more impressive biographies I have read. Deep in texture, Steinbrenner is a fascinating character in the world of Major League Baseball. The anecdotes and stories of the Yankee owner from 1973 to present day are a noteworthy collection to the new age of baseball. There are passages that made me audibly laugh. Author Bill Madden has written the authoritative biography of "The Boss." It is an impressive read with impeccable reporting. Steinbrenner is an intriguing character and this boo ...more
This is a 3.5-3.75 rating for me. I read this in print and listened to it on audio concurrently, due to the book's length.

This was an interesting and comprehensive (sometimes a little too comprehensive in the amount of minute detail) look at Steinbrenner's life. There were some parts that seemed to skip around, or jump ahead in time without explaining how someone arrived at the Yankees, and some parts were a bit repetitive. Overall, though, Steinbrenner was an interesting personality and I enjoy
Oct 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball, audiobook
I approached this as a baseball fan and as a fan of business books. It's interesting to see how organizations operate and are managed. This story was the story of the bully as boss. Did he have redeeming traits? Some, but they sure didn't overwhelm the bullying of his employees in the narrative of this book. If this were a novel, the antagonist would have had second thoughts prior to the end. It doesn't seem to have happened here. That left the end a bit unsatisfying, no send off, just a fading ...more
Don Kaiser
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Fantastic stories, well-written. Even though it was chronological, something I usually don't go for, Madden made it work wonderfully. I still don't understand editors who allow so many childhood experiences to clutter the front of a book, but in this case there was a reason. It was probably because Steinbrenner's domineering father was the way he was that Steinbrenner was the same way. But, after having so many wonderful Yankees moments and controversies brought back in such living detail, it ma ...more
Parker Mills
Feb 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
I thought the book was extremely well done in the early years of Steinbrenner's ownership. It focused on his true business genius of how he was able to put the deal together and remain on top and in charge in spite of numerous challenges and problems. My only complaints are that as the years went by the author focused more and more on what Steinbrenner did wrong and not a word was given for what he did right. It is well known that he was a bully and "The Boss", but for everyone time he continuou ...more
Mark Robertson
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a very readable history of the Yankees from the early 70s through 2009 as told by Bill Madden, who covered the team for the Daily News. Yankees fans (and I am one) did indeed sometimes hate what George Steinbrenner did, particularly the constant firings of the manager and some really stupid acquisitions, but we can't deny that he changed the team's mindset. It's interesting that so many people who he fired - not just managers, at all - continued to work within his organization and/or con ...more
Lou Cordero
Steinbrenner was both good guy and a bad guy. I suspect he was bipolar based on his behaviors towards all his employees. On the one hand, he could be calling some employee an idiot because it was pouring rain in New York and the game had to be canceled. On the other hand, he would give former employees jobs and pay them salary because they needed a job, independent of whether the person was qualified or there was even a job that needed to be done.

He also started the Silver Shield Foundation (htt
This is a pretty balanced portrait of a pretty unbalanced man. I was surprised how often Madden's narrative had me empathizing with Steinbrenner. (The whole Howie Spira thing actually made me feel bad for him, for example.) But make no mistake, the man comes across as tempestuous, as somehow both fickle and relentless, and as just plain nuts in this book. It made me appreciate the genius of the Seinfeld caricature. I'd recommend this to people who enjoy baseball history and biography, even if th ...more
Tim Heaney
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio
Bill Madden wisely focuses more on the facts and less on armchair psychology, but there was one anecdote that won't leave my head. As a birthday gift to his dad, young George Steinbrenner, newly independently rich, donates a building to MIT, his father's beloved alma mater. The building is named for the elder Steinbrenner. When he shows his father the gift as a surprise for the old man's birthday, his father grumbles, "That's the only way you could ever get into this school."
No wonder The Boss w
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a die hard Yankee fan since I was old enough to say "Yogi." When Mr. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS I wondered how a shipping executive would rebuild the Yankee dynasty. I guess that pushing your employees to the limit at every moment possible is one way to do it. What makes Bill Madden's book so interesting is that he elucidates Mr. Steinbrenner's softer, more charitable side. Mr. Steinbrenner was an extremely complex man and in my opinion the book is well worth reading if ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
I am a huge Yankee fan, but I was very disappointed in this book. Madden spent almost the entire book on the 70s and 80s, and then breezed through the good years that I remember--the 90s where we won so many world series, with iconic players and the Core Four. I really did not need to know about EVERY SINGLE trade (or cancelled trade) deal that he did, or every single conversation. The book is so incredibly detailed, but too much so...I didn't think it focused on the right parts of Steinbrenner' ...more
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a Yankee fan but a baseball fan especially in the late 70s and 80s. I decided to purchase this book after Steinbrenner died in July and recalling how he went from a villian to a hero late in life. The book was a straight forward recap of his history as owner of the Yankees. Even though Steinbrenner was not always a nice guy and led a rich and full life, at the end of the book when the end is near, I was sad.
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Book gave a lot of insights in what drove Steinbrenner. Loved the inside stories about George how one day he would fire you and then the next day tell you it was all a mistake!! I thought Bill Madden should have shared more stories from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Seem to have covered the early and middle years of Steinbrenner's Yankee ownership but not the last few years. Deftly stayed awayed from the last 3-4 years when Steinbrenner was clearly ill to the public.
Nov 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios
If you like the Yankees and the era of George Steinbrenner, this is a must read! Much of the book is about "early" Steinbrenner days leading up to his ban from Baseball and following return. It does cover more of the modern era including his relationship with Jeter, Torre, and ultimately Torre's departure and eventual choice of Joe Girardi.

Not being a huge fan of the Yankees and only knowing the periphery, I found the book a fun and interesting read.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great inside look at the personality of the Boss. Being a lifelong Yankees fan this was especially great since I grew up i the era when our team just sucked. The Boss will always be remembered for his outbursts, his competitiveness and his philanthropy. Fascinating book that focused mainly on anecdotes and facts and allows the reader to make up their own mind regarding the legacy of Steinbrenner.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was looking for a book about The Boss, but I was never ever able to find one. Then one day listening to WFAN, Mike Francesa was interviewing Bill Madden and it got me very interested in this book. Telling the story of how Steinbrenner took, what is called $10 million, but is really $8 million and less from his pocket and turned it into a billion dollar industry. For a Yankees fan and a baseball fan The Last Lion of Baseball is a must read.
Jun 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, adult, bio
This was a very educational book. I really enjoyed reading about the life of George and what he did with a team that was sometimes struggling and sometimes not. I can not say that I would always agree with him or that I would have ever survived working with him, however I did learn and get inside into how one of the best teams in baseball regained that title. I think Madden did an amazing job telling this story in a way that did not get boring and did not candy coat things.
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