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George Steinbrenner blamed his criminal conviction on his lawyers

May 9, 2011, 1:12 PM EDT

1970s Steinbrenner

I’m not a religious man, and even if I were, I would like to think that my conception of the Hereafter would allow for non-violent criminals to enter through the gates. Life is more interesting with scoundrels around and I presume death would be too.

That said, there would have to be some sort of vetting process, be it St. Peter or whatever it is you believe in.  If I ran the afterlife, my gatekeeper would probably be like Loni Anderson on WKRP: not particularly helpful, but you never really care all that much.

Wait. Where was I? Oh, the Hereafter. Here’s how I imagine George Steinbrenner’s entrance interview went when the subject of his criminal conviction came up:

Loni: Now, about that campaign contribution business …

Big Stein: Hey now, I was pardoned for that!

Loni: Of course you were. I believe it was Mr. Reagan, wasn’t it?  He’s still over there in the waiting room until we clear up all of this illegally arming rebels business. Hi Ronny!  Anyway, back to you …

Big Stein:  Look here, that was bad legal advice. It says so in today’s Associated Press!  They released the documents! Big Stein was trying to do the right thing but the lawyers, oh boy, those lawyers. They messed up everything!

Loni: You have a point about the lawyers, generally speaking. We have a whole annex for them. Their wait to get in is interminable. But I fail to see how that helps you, Georgie. Because it does seem fairly clear that you were trying to hide campaign contributions that were clearly illegal even back in the wild west pre-Watergate days.  Or are you saying that your lawyer told you to give your employees bogus bonus checks that directly corresponded with the amounts you intended to donate to the Nixon campaign?  And if so, that you thought such advice was on the up-and-up?

Big Stein: Look, honey, I’m tellin’ ya. I was innocent!

Loni:  George, you’re gonna fit right in. Everyone in here is innocent, you know that? Heywood, what you in here for?

Heywood: Didn’t do it. Lawyer screwed me!

Loni: See what I mean?

At that point I’d call out to Loni’s desk and tell her to let Steinbrenner in.  What would Heaven be without him around to make things fun?

  1. cjlemire - May 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Good God, Craig, where on earth did you dig up that 70’s era Stein pic, complete with gold chain and chest hair? The patchouli, it burns!

  2. largebill - May 9, 2011 at 1:24 PM


    I’m no theologian, but I’m pretty confident the process doesn’t work quite like how you describe. Hopefully I won’t get to find out for sure any time real soon.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 9, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      We can’t know for sure what awaits us. Indeed, it’s probably not unlike the bridge scene in “Holy Grail.”

  3. yankeesfanlen - May 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Yeah, but it wasn’t state-of-the-art lawyering that we have now with modern technology.
    I’d love for the Ghost of George to be back now on Twitter. (Hey, an afternoon project)

  4. garlicfriesandbaseball - May 9, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Hey Craig! Things a little slow for you this week-end? Here’s a great filler post for you in case nothing else comes up. And we had a great 3 game series here in SF, finally!

    • yankeesfanlen - May 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      A little late on this one- time differnce, I guess.

  5. Mark Armour - May 9, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    George forced several employees to lie to a grand jury. George was fortunate that his lawyers kept him out a jail.

  6. decimusprime - May 9, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    i think he found that pic of George next to the “reference of bad tv” file where he dug up that nod to WKRP.

    • Joe - May 9, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Blasphemer! WKRP was comedy gold!

      • largebill - May 9, 2011 at 5:15 PM

        Mr. Carlson: “As God is my witness, I swear I thought turkeys could fly.”

        Les Nessman: “Oh, the humanity”

        Two best lines of the series and both from same episode.

      • IdahoMariner - May 9, 2011 at 5:54 PM

        I also loved Arthur Carlson’s parenting advice: “Pray for the best and insure everything.”

      • cur68 - May 9, 2011 at 7:52 PM

        The thanksgiving turkey giveaway episode is one of my faves. I still refer to my jeans as “dungarees” when the mood strikes me to be part of an informal conspiracy at work. But my all time favorite line is and forever will be;
        “Cop got a hat. I want a hat.”

        I use that line every time I see my cousin (a police officer). He never gets it because he’s just too young.

  7. Panda Claus - May 9, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    I imagined Big Stein sounding exactly like Larry David throughout that whole imaginary scene.

  8. birdman6824 - May 9, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    This investigation is to be afforded highest priority and security,” Kelley wrote in one teletype

    Teletype ? You talked on the phone and it typed for you ? Did it go straight to the saddle-bag, or did it have to be sealed in wax first ?

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