WICHITA, Kan. — Love him or hate him (and many fans did both), there's no denying George Steinbrenner was a winner. The New York Yankees owner who built the modern baseball dynasty died Tuesday morning after a massive heart attack.
Wichita isn't anywhere near the Bronx Bombers' home field, but one local man has a very special piece of the team's history.
Joe Ruocco, owner of Rock's Dugout, is pretty much the guy to see whether you're a young collector of baseball cards or a seasoned fan who can appreciate the truly rare memorbilia in a shop more than 30 years old. Ruocco says his very first customer Tuesday was already talking about Steinbrenner's death.
"A lot of the Yankee fans, they loved him," says Ruocco. "They had their ups and downs, but they truly loved him because he brought a winner to New York."
Ruocco grew up as a Yankee fan and can appreciate Steinbrenner's legacy as well as anyone. He still remembers the Yankee fan and card collector who came to him in 1978 furious that Steinbrenner had fired Billy Martin (the first time).