Or the worst enemy. In covert smear campaigns against Yankees players who have disappointed him, Steinbrenner hasn't hesitated to involve his p.r. directors. During his feud with Dave Winfield in the '80s, the Boss constantly phoned Greene in the press box for statistical dish. One call came after Mr. May had grounded out with runners on. "Harvey!" barked Steinbrenner. "Get me Winfield's stats with runners in scoring position." Greene obliged. Next time up Winfield popped out with a man on third. Green's phone rang again. "Harvey!" Steinbrenner once more. "Get that stuff to the writers, and don't tell them where it's from. Just say Winfield isn't living up to the money we're paying him."
Greene did the dirty deed. A few innings later Winfield doubled in the game-winning run. Riiiiing! "Harvey, did you give that information out?"
"Yes, sir. I did exactly what you asked."
"Well, I guess it's too late to take it back."
Greene remembers Steinbrenner fuming about a tabloid scoop on an impending trade. He ordered Greene to call the writer and ferret out the mole. "You really ticked off George," Greene told the writer. "He wants to know where you got the story." The writer laughed gleefully. "I'll tell you his name," he said. " George Steinbrenner."
Of the Steinbrenner 13, only Rob Butcher (1994-95) was "permanently" canned. Butcher had the chutzpah to head home to Ohio for Christmas on the day David Cone was signed as a free agent. "George had given me permission to go," says Butcher, "but he was still upset I wasn't in my office when he called. It was the most irrationally compulsive act I've ever seen. He offered me the job back on December 28, and I'll never forget what he said: 'I think you've learned your lesson.' Though I loved the job, I couldn't work for him anymore."
Greene thinks Butcher took the firing too personally. "George axed me four or five times," Greene says. The first time was in Florida, three weeks into Greene's first spring training. "Harvey, you can't handle this job," Steinbrenner roared after a screwup. 'Tomorrow morning take the first flight back to New York."
Greene called Wahl. "Don't worry," said number 4. "Just show up at work tomorrow, and he'll have forgotten about it."
That can't be right, thought Greene. So he called Morabito. "Don't worry," said number 3. "He did that to me, too. Come in tomorrow, and George will be fine."
That can't be right, thought Greene. So he called Appel. "Don't worry," said number 2. "Tomorrow he won't remember any of this."