Continuing with the Steinbrenner-Trump parallels, a reader points to this recent Sports Illustrated story about what happened to Steinbrenner’s feuding, tabloid-addicted New York Yankees on August 9, 1978, when the Yankees trailed the Boston Red Sox by 8.5 games. Steinbrenner was just about to fire a bunch of front office George Costanza-like employees over what Billy Martin had just said about Reggie Jackson, but then he decided to delay pulling the trigger to see how the headlines in the papers would play it.
But there were no headlines because the New York Daily News, Post, and Times all went on strike that night and stayed on strike through the rest of the regular season. With no newspaper headlines to play up their internal disagreements, the team came together, went 37-14 the rest of the way, beat the Red Sox in a famous 1 game playoff (the Bucky Dent homer), and beat the L.A. Dodgers to win their second straight world championship.
The story you know: 40 years ago, the Yankees rallied from 14 games back to overtake the Red Sox. The one you don’t: key to their revival was a New York newspaper strike that calmed the Bronx Zoo, brought the team’s focus back to baseball—and heralded a change in American life.
By Tom Verducci
September 19, 2018