Tue May 10 10:38am EDT
Though the plotline would have even seemed outlandish on the set of "Seinfeld," recently declassified documents reveal that George Steinbrenner aided and cooperated with the FBI on cases involving national security.
But a James Bond or Jason Bourne, the late New York Yankees owner was not.
Though his exact role remains unclear, Steinbrenner initially agreed to things like allowing an organized crime sting at old Yankee Stadium because he was trying to clear his own name.
His help to the F.B.I. in the 1970s and '80s helped lead to his receiving a pardon from President Reagan in 1989 for a conviction for illegal contributions to Richard M. Nixon's 1972 presidential re-election campaign. [...]
There are no details of what assistance Steinbrenner provided, or the role he played, in his pardon petition or in an F.B.I. memorandum. Both were heavily redacted before release.
In addition to the gambling syndicate sting in the Bronx, it was revealed that Steinbrenner also helped "without hesitation" on a three-year undercover case that his lawyer claimed to have involved a "terrorist matter."
It is not surprising that Steinbrenner helped the F.B.I., to help his case for a pardon but perhaps also to demonstrate his avowed patriotism. But clearly, he wanted a pardon.
Seeking pardon or not, this is still a pretty fascinating and fun story, and one that will have us lamenting the lost opportunities that "Seinfeld" may have been able to mine.
The Boss talking into his shoe ... grappling up the frieze at Yankee Stadium ... steering a powerboat down the Hudson River before thwarting a madman's plot at the Statue of Liberty ... wooing Ursula Andress from behind his desk ... Yeah, the possibilities would have been endless.