The Boss and Bo
George Steinbrenner passed away last week, I don't have much thought either way on "The Boss" (my allegiance is torn between the Braves and the Royals) but as every remembers King George it's good to find that Auburn connection. Larry Vetel passes this story along:
Mr. Steinbrenner had a special word or two for the Gators’ opponent that day. I am writing this as a quote even through I may get a word or two wrong because it was such a remarkable comment.
“I have a special reason for wanting the Gators to win today. This team has a guy that we (the Yankees) drafted and no matter how hard we tried we couldn’t sign him. You can’t tell me things are on the up and up at that place when a kid from that background can turn down $150,000.”
The opponent was Auburn. The kid was Vincent “Bo” Jackson.
The Yankees didn’t return to the World Series that year. In fact the Yanks didn’t make it back to the fall classic until 1996. Bo Jackson did pretty well at Auburn and afterwards.
For those who don't remember Bo Jackson was originally drafted by the Yankees, but turned them down to play at Auburn. Steinbrenner wasn't too happy about it:
[Bo] also said he always had extra motivation to play well against the New York Yankees because he believed team owner George Streinbrenner had told people that he had accepted a payoff to attend Auburn after he passed up a $250,000 signing bonus with the Yankees.
"He said in print the reason Vincent Jackson didn't sign with the Yankees was because since he signed with Auburn University he and his brothers and sisters are all driving nice cars and his mother just became owner of a chain of 7-Eleven stores," Jackson said. "I'm thinking, 'How can he say that?' And if it's true, where's the Porsche I'm supposed to be driving."
Jackson said he chose college because he wanted to be the first in his family to go to a four-year school. It took a little longer than originally planned, but in 1995 he earned his degree in family and child development from Auburn.
I guess it still worked out for old George. He managed to snare "Bo-Lite" a few years later: