Steinbrenner knew Billy was good for a while, but he ALWAYS ended up alienating his players. The players more or less liked Billy, but he would get a few permanently ticked off at him to the point where George would intervene, Billy would lash back at George, and George would have to do something. The players KNEW George would eventually fire Billy, for a while, so it made him easier to take.
"I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."
NL President Ford Frick, 1947