Yankee greats: Old-Timers Day to be bittersweet without 'Boss'

5:15 PM, Jul 16, 2010   |    comments
George Steinbrenner
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Goose Gossage will not forget the climate of fear owner George Steinbrenner brought to the New York Yankees, but now the former relief pitcher remembers "The Boss" and his maniacal rants with a fond chuckle.

"Whenever we'd see him, we'd say, 'Oh my gosh, here he comes,' " Gossage said. "Everyone shuddered. He had that kind of presence. I remember looking up into his box, seeing him throw his arms, carrying on the way he did."

The Yankees will resume their season at home Friday by honoring the memories of Steinbrenner, 80, and Bob Sheppard, 99, the Yankees' public address announcer. Steinbrenner died Tuesday, two days after Sheppard.

Saturday, the team will hold its 64th Old-Timers Day, with more than 30 former players scheduled to attend. The annual gathering will have a different feel.

"It will be strange; we will miss them," Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford said.

Said Gossage: "George Steinbrenner is gone. Bob Sheppard is gone. The old stadium is not here. It's going to be a hollow, sad day."

Friday, wreaths will be placed on Steinbrenner's statue at Yankee Stadium and Sheppard's plaque in Monument Park. There will be a video tribute to Steinbrenner, a moment of silence for both and more ceremonies during Old-Timers Day.

The Yankees won 11 American League pennants and seven World Series under Steinbrenner.

"We are going to have fun Saturday, but we will all have those somber feelings," said Don Larsen, who pitched a perfect game in the 1956 World Series. "George Steinbrenner did a lot for the Yankees. And Sheppard had that wonderful voice."



By Mel Antonen, USA TODAY

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