Derek Jeter provided some rare insight into his early impressions of former owner George Steinbrenner when the retired Yankees captain sat with Core Four members Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada for an interview with the Jeter-owned Players’ Tribune.
“We had fun, but that didn’t mean we weren’t always on our toes,’’ Jeter said. “We were all scared to death of the Boss. Because Steinbrenner would get rid of you. No hesitation. If you weren’t up to his standard, you could be traded. We all knew that. I had a good relationship with the Boss, but I think it’s fair to say that he ruled by fear. It was a tactic he used to get the most out of us. ‘’
Pettitte said, “Everyone was scared of him,’’ to which Jeter added, “Everyone was scared to death of him. And if he intimidated you, you were done. If you showed you were intimidated by the Boss, you could forget about it. If you couldn’t even handle him, how were you going to handle playing in New York? But if you acted like a professional and you weren’t scared, you earned his respect.’’
Posada added, “I just remember everyone would spread word when the Boss was coming. “You’d hear over the walkie-talkies, ‘The eagle had landed! The eagle has landed!’ ”
Rivera said, “Forget about the majors, when you were in the minor leagues, Steinbrenner was even more scary. He’d walk around the locker room and just ... look at people. He’d just look at us, make sure that we were up to code.’’
Posada spoke about Steinbrenner’s rules, saying, “The discipline was intense, You could only wear one chain. You had to be clean shaven. No beards. No hair touching your uniform. Everything was measured and had to be perfect. He made it clear that Yankees look a certain way, and we were so young that it stuck with us. It kind of brainwashed us in the minor leagues.’’
Rivera concluded, “But I think it was good for us. It instilled values in us.’’