In the weeks following his July 13 death, the sentiment echoed throughout the Yankee organization and most of baseball was that George Steinbrenner belonged in the Hall of Fame.

If Steinbrenner is going to get into the Hall, it will have to wait until the next round of voting when the expansion era committee casts ballots again in 2013.

Judging by some of the comments coming from Hall of Fame committee members Tony Perez and Johnny Bench, inducting the Boss may have been too soon. This was Steinbrenner’s first appearance on the ballot, and though he presided over a team that won 11 pennants and seven world championships, memories of his bombastic side may have been too fresh in the minds of voters.

After all, this was a man who was banned for three years by the commissioner. The Yankees were terrible during that stretch, but the front office was quietly allowed to rebuild the farm system with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada.

And that’s why yesterday’s vote wasn’t such a shocker. Steinbrenner will never be confused with a baseball genius, but he figures to receive a Hall call in the future for his other contributions to baseball, such as influencing player salaries and globalizing the game.

Bad signs

There’s a reason why guys like Pat Gillick got the nod over George Steinbrenner. Simply put, he’s not a baseball genius. Just look at five of his worst signings:

1 Ed Whitson — If you ever hear the term, “Can’t pitch in New York,” Ed Whitson personified it during 1985 and ’86 as a Yankee. After signing a four-year deal following a 14-win season with the pennant-winning Padres, Whitson rumbled with manager Billy Martin in a Baltimore hotel. Things got so bad that Whitson refused to take off his jacket and show his uniform number for fear of being booed.

2 Jason Giambi — The slugger was accommodating to the media but his connection to the BALCO scandal and non-apology apology in 2005 places him on the list, especially since it all occurred during the middle of a seven-year contract. Sure he was productive, but his awful, injury-riddled season of 2004 is hard to overlook, considering how that season ended for the Yankees.

3 Kenny Rogers — Game 4 of the 1996 World Series will always be remembered by Jim Leyritz’s home run off Mark Wohlers to give the Yankees an 8-6 victory after they fell behind 6-0. The man who put them in that hole, however, was Rogers. The only good to come from Rogers was the eventual trade to Oakland for Scott Brosius, the 1998 World Series MVP. The club was just thankful Rogers didn’t bullrush a camera man like he did later in his career.

Andy Hawkins
— In the same 1989 offseason, the Yankees signed Dave Lapoint and Steve Sax, they also gave Hawkins a three-year contract. His mediocrity was appropriate for three of the worst seasons in Yankees history and so was his lost no-hitter in Chicago due to bumbling defense in 1990.

5 Hideki Irabu — The Japanese product joined the Yankees to much fanfare in July 1997 and even won 12 games for the 114-win Yankees in 1998. By spring training 1999, though, Irabu had incurred Steinbrenner’s wrath by failing to cover first base — resulting in the infamous, “fat pussy toad” remark. All of this for $12 million over four years.

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