The Boss of bluster fought hard to prevent a torrent of tears.

George Steinbrenner took the witness stand Tuesday in the trial of accused extortionist Howard Spira and displayed a wide variety of temperaments.At times, he turned on the charm, leaning toward the jury and waving his arms to make his point. At times he was military proper, sitting ramrod straight and answering, "Yes, sir" and "No, sir."

Other times he strayed off course, detailing minutia that interested neither the judge nor the prosecutor.

But just before lunch, he lost his composure and nearly broke down while reading a list of phone numbers compiled by Spira. The list had the names and home numbers of Steinbrenner's family and friends.

All of a sudden, The Boss' face turned red and twisted with emotion. He gasped for air and sniffled as he read the names out loud.

It was almost as if Steinbrenner was on trial, not Spira. Despite hours of interrogation, no questions really were answered.