David Cone Pranked Steinbrenner During Subway Series

Cone dropped by The DA Show to discuss his career, his new book and, yes, pranking George Steinbrenner during the 2000 World Series

The DA Show
May 21, 2019 - 11:17 am

David Cone won five World Series titles in his illustrious career, four of which  came with the New York Yankees. Indeed, Cone played for the Yankees from 1995-2000, and the Bronx Bombers won it all in 1996 and then three years in a row from 1998 to 2000.

Those teams are synonymous with legends such as Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams and Joe Torre – and, of course, George Steinbrenner, who had a reputation as one of the hardest-to-please owners in all of sport.

Reputation and reality, however, aren’t always one and the same.

“We loved George,” Cone said in studio on The DA Show. “We saw a different personality and a different guy completely in the ’90s. The ’90s version of George Steinbrenner was very different than the 1970s version of George Steinbrenner. And when you win four out of five years, that gives you obviously a little more equity. But we used to prank him. We used to joke with George. We would involve him in team meetings. I would stir up the pot.”

This could happen at any time, even before big games. 

Even in the World Series.

“During the 2000 Subway Series, George Steinbrenner was sitting in the clubhouse at Shea Stadium, and there were a bunch of cable wires running down on the ground for obvious reasons. It was the World Series,” Cone recalled. “And I talked George into thinking those wires weren’t supposed to be there, that the Mets were bugging us, they were stealing our signs – and George fell for it hook, line, and sinker. He got down on his knees, he was yanking at these cables – and then he looked back at me and he saw me red-faced and he got mad because he knew I was pranking him.”

Steinbrenner quickly jumped to his feet.

“He ran toward me and he said, ‘You better be ready to pitch, young man,’” Cone recalled, laughing. “He kind of got me in a hammerlock, gave me a noogie almost. It was a surreal scene. But that’s the kind of relationship we had with George. We could do those sorts of things with him, and it helps when you win obviously, too.”

Cone also discussed his new book, “Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher,” which delves into his 17-year big league career. Cone, 56, thoroughly enjoyed working on the book and sharing poignant memories and anecdotes from his life both in and out of baseball.

“I did,” he said. “Part of it is Jack Curry, who’s a great writer, The New York Times – his resume speaks for itself – and there’s a real trust factor. He’s a friend. As you know, that’s kind of the most important thing. If you’re going to open up and be raw and tell the truth, you better have somebody on the other end that you’re working with that you really trust.”