(For your reading pleasure adapted from REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT, on sale everywhere, buy it now)
The 1981 World Series was Yankees versus Dodgers, the third match-up between the two storied franchises in five years. A 9-2 win at Yankee Stadium in Game Six gave the world championship to Los Angeles.
KEITH JACKSON (GAME CALL, ABC-TV):
Watson hits it high in the air for the center fielder Ken Landreaux, this should do it...and the Dodgers are the 1981 champions of baseball.
PRESS RELEASE (BOX)
I want to sincerely apologize to the people of New York and to the fans of the New York Yankees everywhere for the performance of the Yankee team in the World Series. I also want to assure you that we will be at work immediately to prepare for 1982. –George Steinbrenner
FRED CLAIRE: Steinbrenner’s apology came in the form of a release which he passed out after we won the series. I though it was strange. The Yankees had given all they could to win. There was really no need to apologize for an all out effort by your team.
“The Boss” did much more than apologize. He kicked ass and rolled heads. He demeaned Dave Winfield, who had managed but one hit in 21 at-bats in the Series. Having signed him to a huge contract, Steinbrenner was furious at "Winny," dubbing him “Mr. May,” a sarcastic reference to Winfield’s peak performance in May and poor performance in the Fall Classic.
On January 22, 1982, Reggie Jackson irritated by Steinbrenner putdowns, signed as a Free Agent with the California Angels.
The commencement of the 1982 season at the Stadium was a hard time coming and as far as Yankee fans were concerned – largely not worth waiting for. Bob Lemon, who had managed the final 25 games in 1981 last only through 14 games in 1982.
On April 6th, almost a foot of snow cancelled Opening Day against Texas and the next game, too. It was April 11th before the ballpark was finally in shape for playing baseball. In recognition of how hard the grounds crew worked to make the field ready, crew chief Jimmy Esposito was given the honor of throwing out the first ball. The Yankees lost both games of an Easter Sunday doubleheader to Chicago. But at least their season was finally underway.
The roster had what Yogi Berra would call “deep depth” with a pitching staff featuring splendid southpaws Ron Guidry, Tommy John, and Dave Righetti. Goose Gossage was a flame-throwing stopper. Still, even with all that talent, the Yankees could not get it going. In June, they were 9 1 /2 games out.
On August 3rd, the White Sox took two from the Yankees at the Stadium and “the Boss” fired Gene Michael, who had replaced Bob Lemon, replacing him with Clyde King.
All season long Steinbrenner kept his circus jumping, seeking quick fixes. Beyond a trio of managers, he went through a merry-go-round of three hitting coaches, five pitching coaches, and 47 players. The chaos and the musical chairs did not make for an environment that suited a winning ball club.
The 1982 Yankees were not a winning club. They ended the season in fifth place, 16 games behind Milwaukee. They would not return to post-season play for the next 13 years. From that season until 1991, with George Steinbrenner having his say and having his way, the Stadium would become a mix and match of players and pilots. Highlighting the mayhem of the era were eleven managerial changes including the hiring and firing of Billy Martin six times. “They know what the bottom line is,” Steinbrenner said. . . .
Harvey Frommer is his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books. The author of 40 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was published September 1, 2008 as well as a reprint version of his "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball.". Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in excess of one million and appears on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
Harvey Frommer "Dartmouth's own Mr. Baseball" Dartmouth Alumni Magazine//
REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM (Definitive Book)
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