I had a couple of different friends that worked for George Steinbrenner over the years. They said he was even more demanding than his public persona. He literally had an unquenchable thirst for winning and never let people or money get in the way.
Like Billy Martin, my friends were fired and hired back more than once and though well paid, they were essentially on 24 hour call, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even if they were on vacation.
The best story a friend told me was after getting his ass-chewed for 30 minutes by George, he ordered him to take the rest of the day off and think about if he really wanted to work for the company George owned in Tampa at the time. My friend had plenty of battle scars, but this tirade was particularly brutal and he went to local bar to have a beer, something to eat and consider what he wanted to do for a next move.
After ordering his food and drowning one drink, his company issued beeper was flashing and he went to his car and made a call (that’s how it was back then). George was on the phone, yelling at him to get back to work immediately, since it required his attention and the group he was working with. My friend told George he had just ordered food after being sent home by him and George said he didn’t give a crap, pay for the food immediately and get his ass back to work.
In a dazed and confused state, my friend went back to his job, George laid out to the project group he was on what needed to done and gave them an impossible deadline.
Somehow my friend and his co-workers finished the project on time and were sitting around feeling satisfied. George called my friend into the office and said something like, “I’m hard on everyone, because I love winning and hate losing. Go back to work.”
That was George Steinbrenner, always in the relentless pursuit of winning and he was awfully damn good at it.