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Less information about Steinbrenner than in Dick Schaap's recent full-length bio--and more vitriol. Linn (Veeck as in Wreck, Nice Guys Finish Last) focuses on George III's stormy tenure as the New York Yankees' principal owner--beginning with Steinbrenner showing who-was-boss during the 1981 season by refusing to negotiate a new contract with Reggie Jackson (haunted by the arrival of Dave Winfield) and firing his hand-picked manager, Gene Michael, following a flap over front-office interference. Then it's back to George's roots, with much gleeful detail on the attempt to curry federal favor for the family shipping business and the subsequent guilty pleas on election-law violations. Thereafter, Linn concentrates on Steinbrenner's takeover of the Bronx Bombers and his high-handed success in restoring the team to championship status. With the apparent aid of a Deep Throat, he offers blow-by-blow reports on many of the celebrated run-ins--with Billy Martin, Rick Cerone, Mike Burke, Thurman Munson, Gabe Paul, and, of course, Jackson. Also: some of the epic, in-house battles. But most of these yarns are twice-told tales, given Steinbrenner's mastery at leaking his version of events and the players' access to eager journalists. The few exceptions--the word that Bobby Grich (not Reggie) was George's #1 choice in the first free-agency draft, the club's shabby treatment of coach Elston Howard before his death, Bucky Dent's thought of quitting the team the night Jackson tangled with Martin on national TV--seem mere sideshows to a circus. And Linn's relentless hostility is ultimately counterproductive. So, yes, there is a lot of dirt, some of it fresh dirt. But readers who want an edged, ironic closeup--and the long view--will do much better with Schaap.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1982
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston