Ben Stiller announced today that his father, Jerry Stiller, passed away from natural causes at 92-years-old. The elder Stiller was a Hollywood icon and starred in several prominent roles in both movies and TV. The part he's perhaps best known for, however, is that of Frank Costanza, George Costanza's quirky father from the hit sitcom Seinfeld.
As a sports writer who grew up watching the show, I couldn't help but remember the scene when Frank Costanza calls out George Steinbrenner for trading away Jay Buhner. Frank just learned that his son George has died (a case of mistaken diagnosis because George's damaged car was left in the Yankees parking lot), but his focus is on telling "The Boss" what a big mistake he made.
It's one of the most famous scenes in Seinfeld's esteemed history, punctuated by the voicemail Frank leaves for Jerry.
"Jerry, it's Frank Costanza, Mr. Steinbrenner is here, George is dead, call me back."
Of course, the trade did turn out to be one of the worst of all time as Buhner wound up becoming an All-Star in 1996 and was eventually inducted into the Mariners' Hall of Fame. The Yankees got designated hitter Ken Phelps in the trade, who hit only 17 home runs before getting traded again a year later.
The trade will live on forever through this scene and so will Stiller's performance. RIP to a true legend.