Remembering Jerry Stiller: 'Why the Hell Did You Trade Jay Buhner?'

By WFAN Sports Radio 66AM & 101.9 FM New York

The news of the death of beloved comedian Jerry Stiller set off a slew of tributes on Monday morning. Stiller's turn on Seinfeld as Frank Costanza, the father of Jerry's best friend George, was fodder for many remembrances.

Among them was an episode long popular among baseball fans in which Frank confronts Yankees owner George Steinbrenner over the infamous trade that sent future All-Star outfielder Jay Buhner to the Seattle Mariners.

"What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?" Stiller asked Steinbrenner, posed, as always, so the audience couldn't see the face of the actor playing him. "He had 30 home runs and over 100 RBIs last year. He's got a rocket for an arm. You don't know what the hell you're doing!"

The episode aired in 1996, some eight years after the Yankees had dealt away Buhner, and just before the start of the Yankees dynasty that changed the perception of Steinbrenner among fans. 

But Stiller's incredulous delivery still spoke for frustrated Yankees fans everywhere who were tired of seeing Steinbrenner make impulsive moves that had resulted in an 18-year championship drought. 

Of course, Stiller's hilarious Steinbrenner-related moment did not end there.  

Steinbrenner had arrived at the Constanza house because he had thought George was dead. In the very next scene, Frank then leaves a memorable message on Jerry's phone, "Jerry, it's Frank Costanza. Mr. Steinbrenner is here, George is dead, call me back."

The episode was one of many great Frank Costanza episodes, and one baseball fans will never forget.