You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire
Brandon Steiner went from a kid who sat in the nosebleed seats at Yankee and Shea Stadiums to CEO of Steiner Sports Marketing Inc., one of the largest sports marketing and memorabilia companies in the United States, with an inventory of more than 10,000 collectibles. You Gotta Have Balls details Steiner's multiple entrepreneurial adventures, where he has both learned and taught others his fair share of "rules." Along the way, he developed some of the most innovative approaches to business—methods that many of today's companies would be wise to observe and employ themselves.
You Gotta Have Balls follows Steiner on his pathway to success by demonstrating the business philosophies that allowed him to become the powerful magnate that he is. These ideals include:
- First to market is everything
- Ask "What Else?" when working with clients to enhance relationships and elicit more business
- Don't expand just for the sake of expanding; do it in areas and industries where your passion lies
- How to train employees while they're in the minor leagues to prepare them for the majors
Learn to clearly identify ways to help others rather than sell to them, to align employees and partners with their strengths, and to discover a path where you're most likely to succeed.
PROLOGUE LAST CALL AT YANKEE STADIUM xi
INTRODUCTION BEING ALL IN xv
Chapter 1 WHAT’S WITH THE WATER IN BROOKLYN? 1
Chapter 2 THE SECRET OF ‘WHAT ELSE?’ 15
Chapter 3 LIFE, DEATH, AND SODA 23
DEWEY HIGH SCHOOL 23
Chapter 4 YES OR YES 41
IF IT ISN’T EASY, IT ISN’T POSSIBLE 51
Chapter 5 GETTING THE RAISE, THEN THE JOB 57
Chapter 6 THE ONLY SPORTS BAR IN NEW YORK 71
Chapter 7 WAITING TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING 77
MAKING CONNECTIONS 78
THE ‘86 GIANTS 81
MEETING MARA 83
ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER 85
ON MY OWN 87
MAKING THE MARKET 90
DREAMING UP APPEARANCES 94
MEDICINE MEN 97
OUR FIRST MAJOR DEAL 102
YOU NEVER KNOW 105
Chapter 8 PLAY THE GAME, NOT THE SCORE 107
RELATIONSHIPS, NOT TRANSACTIONS 111
Chapter 9 TURNING MEMORIES INTO MONEY 115
EXPANDING OUR BUSINESS 115
MY FAVORITE COLLECTIBLE 120
Chapter 10 THE BIG BREAK: YANKEES-STEINER 125
Chapter 11 THE LIGHT IN THE OTHER ROOM 133
Chapter 12 TURNING DIRT INTO DOLLARS 139
Chapter 13 A JEWISH KID MEETS TOUCHDOWN JESUS 143
Chapter 14 THE FINAL DAYS OF YANKEE STADIUM 153
THE FRIEZE 164
THE ORIGINAL BRICKS 166
THE ‘‘I WANT TO THANK THE GOOD LORD FOR MAKING ME A YANKEE’’ SIGN 168
THE BLACK 168
THE FOUL POLES 170
THE CLUBHOUSE CARPET 170
Chapter 15 NOTHING BUT A DREAMER 171
Chapter 16 SANDLOT WISDOM 175
GET EVERYONE TO BUY IN 176
MAKE SURE INDIVIDUALS KNOW WHAT’S EXPECTED OF THEM 177
IF YOU CAN’T MOTIVATE, INCENTIVIZE 178
MAKE EVERYONE FEEL IMPORTANT 179
CONCLUSION WHAT MAKES YOU TICK? 183
BRANDON STEINER is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN Radio 1050 and as co-host of Yankees-Steiner: Memories of the Game on the YES Network. He is also regularly featured on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara.
“Brandon Steiner is not only the biggest sports memorabilia collector on the planet, but he is also one of the best collectors of relationships and business contacts. You Gotta Have Balls is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”—Larry King
Growing up in a poor Brooklyn, NY neighborhood, Brandon Steiner came from humble beginnings. Now 25 years later, Steiner Sports Marketing is proud to be celebrating their 25th Anniversary as the most successful sports marketing and memorabilia brand in the industry.
Success didn’t come easy, and Steiner soldiered through countless peaks and valleys – both professionally and personally, forcing him to reinvent himself. Along the way, he developed into a bona fide sports marketing guru having created many innovative approaches to business. Steiner shares his journey and business lessons in, You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire (September 2012; ISBN: 9781118172070; Hardcover & E-Book; $24.95).
With his instinctive desire to learn, work hard, and dream big – every day is game day for Steiner. From his first job with the neighborhood fruit stand, to his paperboy duties for the New York Daily News - Steiner always finds himself asking, “What Else?”, as if there is always more to pursue. This mentality prepared Steiner for several successful partnerships including relationships with Notre Dame Football and the New York Yankees which led to the 2008 purchase and demolition of the Old Yankee Stadium.
Steiner will never forget his mother’s favorite phrase, “You gotta have balls”. Having much respect for her as a mother and mentor, those words have not only been rooted in his life but approach to business. Now as the title of his second book, You Gotta Have Balls teaches the philosophies that have allowed Steiner to become the industry force he is today, including:
- Why being first to market is everything
- The importance of aligning people with their strengths
- Always ask “What Else?” when working with clients to enhance relationships
- Don’t expand just to expand; do it within industries where your passion lies
- Train employees while they’re in the minor leagues to prepare them for the majors
- Find your passion through commitment, as opposed to the other way around
Throughout You Gotta Have Balls, Steiner includes stories and lessons from successful sports figures including Derek Jeter, Hank Aaron, Mariano Rivera and Mark Messier, and often compares those lessons to the game of sports. Steiner believes very strongly and advises readers, “to play the game, and not the score” – be committed, and stay passionate even if you’re losing.
Steiner is often asked how he got started. Although there is not a moment to answer that question, he typically replies “commitment”. Over the course of his life, Steiner has been committed to countless endeavors – all adding up to his success. If asked to sum up the business of Steiner Sports in one sentence, Steiner would reply, “Steiner Sports is the number-one collector of autographs in the world. In some 25 years, we have bought and sold almost 20 million autographs – and set up over 35,000 athlete appearances.”
Steiner’s career makes for a long conversation; You Gotta Have Balls is not only his attempt at making a personal introduction with his readers but hopes to lead them out of the nosebleed section.
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