A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“To make me happy: Make me coffee, bring me coffee, be coffee….coffee” (3/24)
“Coffee, coffee! It’s our drink! If we don’t get it, we can’t think!” (3/24)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/24)
“Want to hear a really dark joke?…Decaf” (3/24)
“I eat salad everyday. Bean salad…Coffee bean salad…Coffee. I drink coffee everyday” (3/24)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from July 20, 2010
“Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa” (George Steinbrenner)

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner (1930-2010) bought the team in 1973 and returned the Yankees to glory years of World Series championships. Steinbrenner often compared the Yankess to the priceless Mona Lisa painting, saying: “Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa. That’s something you never sell.”

The quotation is cited in print since at least 1981-1982. Steinbrenner was talking about the many offers he’d received to sell the team; the team he bought for $8.8 million was worth about one billion dollars at the time of Steinbrenner’s death in 2010. The New York (NY) Daily News (see the 2003 article on “Yankee Speak,” below) claims that the “Mona Lisa” comment was made by Steinbrenner upon the 1973 purchase, but the “never sell” part of the quotation seems to indicate a later date.


Wikipedia: George Steinbrenner
George Michael Steinbrenner III (July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010) was principal owner and managing partner of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees. During Steinbrenner’s 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death, the longest in club history, the Yankees earned 7 World Series titles and 11 pennants. His outspokenness and role in driving up player salaries made him one of the sport’s most controversial figures. Steinbrenner was also involved in the Great Lakes shipping industry.

Known as a hands-on baseball executive, he earned the nickname “The Boss.” He had a tendency to meddle in daily on-field decisions, and to hire and fire (and sometimes re-hire) managers. Former Yankees manager Dallas Green gave him the derisive nickname “Manager George.”

He died after suffering a heart attack in his Tampa home on the morning of July 13, 2010, the day of the 81st All-Star Game.

Wikipedia: Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda or La Joconde) is a sixteenth-century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel in Florence, Italy by Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci during the Renaissance. The work is currently owned by the Government of France and is on display at the Louvre museum in Paris under the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. Arguably, it is the most famous and iconic painting in the world.

Google Books
Inside Sports
1981
Pg. 69: 
“Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa. That’s something you never sell.” — George Steinbrenner, noted collector of ballplayers.

Google Books
Best Sports Stories 1982
Edited by Irving T. Marsh and Edward Ehre
New York, NY: Penguin USA
1982
Pg. 18:
“Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa.”

Google Books
Confessions from left field:
A baseball pilgrimage

By Raymond Mungo
New York, NY: Dutton
1983
Pg. 53:
Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa. — George Steinbrenner

New York (NY) Times
Sports of The Times; Yankee Fans Hostages To Steinbrenner’s Whims
By IRA BERKOW
Published: August 16, 1987
(...)
Indeed, Steinbrenner once said: ‘’Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa; it’s something that you’d never sell.’’

New York (NY) Daily News
GIVING UP YANKS ON BOSS’ MIND
By RAFAEL HERMOSO and LARRY SUTTON
Thursday, March 26th 1998, 2:04AM
(...)
“I’ve always felt that in business a good thing is that nobody should stay as CEO of a company more than 10 years to do the best job for your company,” he says. “Maybe I’ve overstayed my time.”

Then again, maybe not.

Last night, Steinbrenner told the Daily News: “I also said that when you own the Yankees it’s like owning the Mona Lisa. You never want to sell it.”

New York (NY) Daily News
YANKEE SPEAK
BY BILL MADDEN
Tuesday, April 15th 2003, 1:32AM
(...)
“Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa.”
- George Steinbrenner upon buying the Yankees from CBS for $8.8 million in 1973.

Sports Illustrated
May 10, 2004
Mister Softie?
At 73, George Steinbrenner is saying lots of nice things and acting happier than ever. But nobody’s relaxing in Yankeedom. The Boss still has more power than any other owner in sports, and he knows how to use it

Tom Verducci
(...)
Owning the Yankees is like owning the Mona Lisa.
—G.M.S., 1981

New York (NY) Daily News
THE YANKEES’ LION IN WINTER. The roar of The Boss is a sound of the past in the Bronx
BY MIKE LUPICA
Sunday, June 19th 2005, 1:00AM
(...)
No one has tangled with Steinbrenner more than I have. I was the one who gave him the nickname Boss Steinbrenner in the old days. I was sitting across from Steinbrenner in his Stadium office when he said that owning the Yankees was like owning the Mona Lisa, that once you had it, you never sold it.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Tuesday, July 20, 2010 • Permalink