By Rick Wells, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- George Steinbrenner was one of those people for whom there was no middle ground. He was loved and hated - often for the same reason.
A Tulsa woman credits her chance encounter with George Steinbrenner with her lifelong love for both New York and the Yankees.
Mary Bradshaw has photo albums of her experiences including her first Yankee baseball game – an experience she calls her brush with greatness.
"Everybody who knows me knows this story," Bradshaw said. "It's like - Hi my name is Mary, and oh by the way, I went to this Yankee game once."
She grew up in southwest Oklahoma, but the whole family loved the New York Yankees. "It ain't the Yankees; it ain't baseball," was kind of a family slogan.
"We were raised to be Yankee fans, period," said Mary Bradshaw of Tulsa.
When she was 10, her family took a trip to Texas to watch the Yankees play the Rangers. Before the game there was to be an old timers game. She went down to get some autographs.
"Before they got to me, they stopped giving autographs," she said.
Disappointed, she asked a man in the stands if there would be another opportunity.
"He said ‘I don't know; give me your book. I'll see.'"
A few minutes later he came back with some classics: Bobby Richardson, Moose Skowron, Dick Howser, Ryne Duran: old time Yankees all of them. Some would become Hall of Famers,
She was in heaven.
"My mom said ‘why don't you get that man's autograph,'" said Mary Bradshaw.
So sporting her Yankee batting helmet and her autograph book she walked down and asked the helpful man for his signature.
"He said 'for a kiss.' I kissed him on the cheek, and he wrote in my book, ‘to my girl Mary, from George Steinbrenner.'"
George Steinbrenner, was her hero that day, and she's never forgotten.