Be My Guest

Guest Column by Dr. William Pollard


When I initially heard the news that the controversial, hard nosed owner of the Yankees had died following a massive heart attack, my immediate thoughts were about the Yankee season and what a motivation this would be for what I call the real “ America’s team.”
It was later in the afternoon as I listed to Jeter and several of the other players reflect on the life of the Boss that I recalled meeting George Steinbrenner. It was a spring afternoon in Louisiana and the New York Yankees were in town to play the Grambling Tigers. I, and maybe fifty to sixty other die hard baseball fans were there to watch the Grambling Tigers play the New York Yankees.
It was not a terribly eventful game, except that I recall the Tigers held the Yankees scoreless until the third inning. I also recall that Coach Ellis gave each of his pitchers an opportunity to pitch at least one inning against the Yankees. While the game itself was not terribly eventful, the occasion itself was memorable. I met the Boss, George Steinbrenner.
I sat behind him on the wooden bleachers filled with the same splinters The Boss rested on. I am sure those seats were nothing like the ones in the box seats at Yankee Stadium. I watched the Boss as he engaged in baseball talk with Grambling residents and as he signed every piece of paper that sought his autograph.
Now as I reflect on his death I recall the Boss as a man who honored his friendship and respect for Eddie Robinson, the late football coach who put Grambling on the map. I recall the Boss as a man who really did not seem to mind being with the people. I will never forget that warm spring afternoon in Grambling, Louisiana.
Bill Pollard
copyright 2010 William Pollard
William Pollard is the President of Medgar Evers College, City University of New York