Yankees’ field of dreams to Henry Kissinger’s debate-stirring acts: An odd friendship

Henry Kissinger is at Yankee Stadium.

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The passing of Henry Kissinger has sparked diverse opinions among Americans, shaped by factors such as age, political inclinations, or personal interactions with the late 100-year-old diplomat. Views on the statesman range from seeing him as a Nobel Peace Prize-winning architect of American foreign policy to regarding Henry Kissinger as a war criminal accountable for millions of deaths in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Chile, and other regions.

In the year 2023, a trend has emerged in corporate America where businesses, universities, and nonprofits feel compelled to issue statements in response to significant or controversial news developments. Amid the plethora of organizations expressing their thoughts on Henry Kissinger’s demise, the prevailing sentiment characterizes him as a statesman of unparalleled significance, particularly echoed by establishments like the Reagan Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. However, an unexpected addition to this list is the New York Yankees.


Strange friends: Examining the Yankees’ ties to Henry Kissinger

Typically, phrases beginning with “the Yankees are profoundly saddened” are reserved for incidents like a bench coach being thrown to the ground by a Hall of Famer or spending over $280 million in payroll only to finish two games above .500. However, the recent statement explains an unusual occasion for such sentiment – the passing of Henry Kissinger, a friend of the legendary Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

Henry Kissinger and Steinbrenner shared a camaraderie, often attending games together in the luxury box. Notably, they also had a mutual connection with Richard Nixon. Although Henry Kissinger avoided involvement in Watergate, Steinbrenner faced indictment in 1974 for illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign and later received a pardon from Ronald Reagan.

Henry Kissinger cherished the moments spent with Steinbrenner, as expressed in a 2008 op-ed for the New York Times commemorating the end of the original Yankee Stadium. Reflecting on the significance of sitting in the owner’s box next to Joe DiMaggio, Henry Kissinger wrote, “In the early days, the idea that the day might come when I would sit in the owner’s box next to Joe DiMaggio would have seemed beyond even America’s capacity to fulfill dreams. Yet that is what happened, starting in the 1970s, proving America’s ability to make the impossible come true.” The choice of the Yankees as his favorite ball club is noteworthy, given their long-standing nickname – the evil empire.

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