Negron: Young Yankee Acts Like A Role Model

Gleyber Torres has picked up where he left off this past Christmas.

During the holidays Torres arranged for hundreds of kids, that he didn’t even know, to get Christmas gifts. Today he was sharing himself and his heart with kids that need it the most. He spent his afternoon with kids from New York who usually would not have had an opportunity to meet their idols and get to sit with them and find out that they are regular people too. That was the message that Gleyber Torres gave to all of these wide eyed kids.

Gleyber’s message was very simple. Respect your parents, respect your family and coaches and do not be afraid to follow your dreams. Gleyber explained that to achieve goals in life you must be willing to sacrifice. He also told them that school and baseball go hand in hand. As much as you give the game of baseball you must also give to your education. He explained that he would not be where he is today without the love and support of his parents. Gleyber told the kids that his parents had to make a number of sacrifices for the success that he has achieved today.

Gleyber was very positive with the kids and showed them proper fielding techniques. Of course there were plenty of photos and autographs. As much as the kids loved this great opportunity, I think the parents loved it more because of the beautiful and positive message that Mr. Torres delivered. The best moment for me was when this little boy just kept staring at Gleyber. I asked him why he kept his eye on Torres and he said because I never thought I would ever meet a Yankee. “From the mouth of babes.”

Thank you Gleyber and the Yankees for always being there for the little guy.

Negron: Number 66, Not A Bad Number

I have always had a fascination with the true “rags to riches” stories of life. Stories of men and women who understood that a part of what they were accomplishing, they would also share with the world. In my life the names that stood out were Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente. In the world of entertainment it was Elvis and Sinatra, Jose Feliciano and Frankie Valli for me.

To me, baseball and the arts walked hand in hand. I used to say that if I couldn’t be a baseball player that I wanted to be a movie actor.

On August 16th, 1977, Elvis Presley died. I will never forget how sad I was that day because I was such a big fan. I was sitting behind Reggie Jackson’s desk answering some of his fan mail when Reggie walked into the room to see if there were any important letters in the bunch. He noticed that I was unusually quiet that day so he asked what was wrong. I mentioned that Elvis had died and how I was such a fan. I remember talking about the reasons that I liked Elvis, including the fact that he was very close to people that he did not even know, and how every time he did a movie he included his friends in the film.

I remember how Reggie really paid attention to what I was saying. I did think that he was trying to be a soundboard for me. Well, that winter I got the biggest surprise from “Mr October.” He called me up one day and said how would you like to be in my Volkswagen commercial. I think I screamed out the biggest ‘Hell Yeah’ ever.

One commercial led to another and another. I did spots for products such as “Old Spice” and “Panasonic.” I also noticed how smooth Reggie was in delivering his lines. He was a natural. I learned just as much from him as an actor as I did from him in baseball.

One day, I got a call from Warner Brothers to see if I would like to test for a film called “Blue Skies Again.” I would be working with two up and coming actors named Joey Gian (Who would go on to fame on “Knots Landing”) and Andy Garcia (Academy Award nominee). Would you believe that I got the part of Jerry Washburn, a rookie baseball player. We shot the movie in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. The Casting Director was a lady named Dee Miller and the Director was Richard Michaels, who directed the television series “Bewitched.”

On the set I was pretty popular because the Yankees had just been World Champions and everyone knew that I worked for the team. The one thing that really stood out for me during the early days of the filming was when we had to go to wardrobe to check on our uniforms. I remember being a little disappointed because my uniform number was 66. I wanted a sexier number. Like one or four.

I remember Andy thinking to himself then asking me, ‘What number did Jackie Robinson wear’? I said, ‘forty two!’ Then he said ‘and Roberto Clemente?’I said ‘twenty one!’ Andy said, ‘and Babe Ruth, and I said…..’3.’ Andy said when you put it all together it equals to 66. Andy, Joey and me laughed like crazy because it was a positive sign that I fell in love with the number.

With all the crazy, mystical, very sad, yet incredibly wonderful moments that I have gone through, I remember going to George Steinbrenner in 2006 after one of my books became a best seller and thanking him for saving my life. He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I didn’t save your life. Your story was already told, I was just doing what I was supposed to do.’

Then he smiled and told me to get out of there.

Today, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jackie Robinson. The book that I was talking about with Mr. Steinbrenner was called “The Greatest Story NEVER Told.” The book is about the Babe and Jackie. It also introduces a young Roberto Clemente. It’s the story of love of faith and hope.

I dedicate this column to some of my heroes of life. Men like Jackie, The Babe ,The Boss, Roberto, Feliciano, Elvis, Mr. Sinatra, Frankie Valli, Chazz, Murcer, Billy, Thurman and of course Mr. October.

Negron: Yankee Loyalty and Support Keep Scouts Strong

Many years ago, George Steinbrenner told me that the key to winning championships was to have great scouts out in the field amassing the best information possible.

In the 1970s, he was armed with the best scouts in the game. That roster included Gary Walker and the great Birdie Tibbetts. It’s no coincidence that the Yanks signed so many great free agents and in turn won three AL Pennants and two World Championships. They also had terrific scouts at the amateur levels. Scouts that were very proud of working for the Yanks and in turn were always looking for that diamond in the rough. The brilliant skills of these scouts helped the Yanks get some terrific talent, despite the fact they were winning and weren’t getting high draft picks.

Forty years later, the quality of scouting in the organization, from the Major League level to the amateur ranks, has only gotten better. The pride that these scouts exemplify, even today, is remarkable because of how proud they are in being associated with the Yankees. They come across much different than scouts in other organizations. There is just a special attitude that they seem to inherit.

Two of those prideful people are veteran scout Cesar Presbott and the Yankees’ first female scout, Kelley Rodman. Both of these scouts truly do understand the importance of their jobs. They get up every morning and can’t wait to see who they might find that day. They are not afraid to follow a hunch. They are also not afraid to show people, especially kids, that they also have a heart and not everything is so matter of fact.

They’re not not afraid to give a kid with a dream, some hope. Sometimes maybe more than warranted. Sometimes they’re even willing to throw some batting practice or hit some ground balls after their coaches have gone home, because they see something that their coach may not have and they don’t want to step on the coach’s toes.

Baseball needs more people like Cesar and Kelley in this great game. We have good people in the game, however the great ones are far and few between.

This weekend MLB scouting was honoring me for my community service in baseball however I felt that the ones that needed to be honored was Cesar and Kelley. In the last year, Kelley was diagnosed with cancer and has lost her beautiful hair, yet she came to the ceremony and stood there with the pride of a champion and a true Yankee.

Cesar was dealing with a heart ailment a month ago and all he could think about, while in the hospital, was how long before I can get back on the field to do my job.

That’s the Yankee way!

While giving my speech, I said that I was more proud of the Yankees now, than at any time in my long association with the organization. When Cesar was down and hurting he got calls from team officials Damon Oppenheimer and Matt Hyde. Both men let Cesar know that he had nothing to worry about. They told him to just get healthy so that ‘you can get back in the field doing what you do best.’ I also understand that they have shown the same wonderful respect and support to Kelley.

I think the Boss would be very proud because this has always been the “Steinbrenner-Yankee way.”

NY Sportsday’s Ray Negron To Be Honored by NY Professional Baseball Scouts

NY Sportsday.com and Newsmax columnist Ray Negron is about to add another honor to his fabulous career that began in baseball as a result of a fateful meeting that took place over 45 years ago.

The Award winning author, playwright and film producer who started his career in the early 1970’s, will be honored with an award at the NY Professional Baseball Scouts Dinner on Friday, January 25th, at Leonard’s in Long Island, NY.

Ray’s story is one of legend. As a 16-year old, he was caught spraying graffiti on a Yankee Stadium wall by George Steinbrenner. The Boss did not turn him into the police, instead, Negron got a job as a Yankee bat boy and the rest is history.

Negron is a member of the International Latino Hall of Fame and the Ted Williams Hall of Fame for his humanitarian efforts with children around the country. Ray has earned great respect for his leadership in the Latino community.

At present, Negron remains close to the Steinbrenner family and is the Yankees Community Affairs Consultant where he helps inspire those in need by encouraging Yankee players to do the same.

Negron is very appreciative of where he came from and his proud Latin heritage. With Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday approaching, Ray wanted to offer this message of appreciation.

“One former President, one very powerful journalist and one of the richest men in the world with one ordinary, simple Latin American guy from the Bronx. Only in America could this happen. Let’s appreciate this great country. Thanks Mr. Clinton. Mr. O’Reilly. Mr. Forbes for sharing a laugh and treating me as an equal.

Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday and I would like to think that he would have been proud of these gentlemen for accepting me, the guy from the Bronx.

In 1974, when I was going through my own insecurities, George Steinbrenner told me that this day would come and I would be able to walk with my head held high and that I would be accepted anywhere and everywhere. Three years later, Billy Martin would validate that when he took me to have dinner with Sammy Davis Jr and the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, at the famous Italian restaurant, Patsy’s, on 56th and Broadway. Sammy and Mr. Sinatra could not have been nicer.

Forty years later I still go to Patsy’s because of the great food and the fact that I can still reminisce about coming of age with Sal and Joe Scognamillo, the owners and my friends who treat me like family. If you go up to the second floor of the restaurant you can see a portrait of Sinatra, Sammy, Billy Martin, Joe the owner and yes, yours truly.

I would like to think that, on what would have been Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday, he would have looked at the portrait and smiled with approval.”

“We have Overcome, Thank you Mr. King.”

The NY Professional Baseball Scouts Dinner will take place at Leonard’s of Great Neck, Long Island on Friday, January 25th. Tickets are available. For more information, contact Billy Blitzer at bbscout1@aol.com.

Negron: This Doc Has a Broken Heart

Like everyone else in the baseball community I was saddened by the terrible news of Yankee pitching great and outstanding pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre’s passing.

I first met Mel in 1973 during my first season as a Yankee batboy. It was my first day in that crazy clubhouse and I couldn’t help but notice that Mel acted more like a young college professor instead of a “Bronx Zoo” Yankee. He was just a very nice guy. The other thing that I noticed was how everyone gravitated to him.

What stood out to me about Mel was how prepared he was before every game. He was one of the coolest customers I have ever seen play in NY. Mel truly personified what a New York Yankee baseball player was at that time along with Bobby Murcer, Thurman Munson and Roy White. Those guys gave us fans hope. They also made the Yankees fun during a tough, non-winning period in Yankee history. When Mel’s baseball career came to a screeching halt because of a rotator cuff injury in 1974, he would become one of baseball’s all time great pitching coaches, first for the Mets and later the Yankees.

While with the Mets he would tutor one of baseball’s great pitching staffs. During his tenure there he would have the opportunity to work with one of baseball’s all time great phenoms, Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

Mel would become a second father to this very impressionable young man. The trust that they would develop for each other probably saved Gooden in more ways then one. Mel would work for other teams including the Houston Astros. When George Steinbrenner signed Gooden in the winter of 1995 he asked Doc if he were to pick his own pitching coach who would that be and Doc said with no hesitation “Mel Stottlemyre.” At that moment, the Boss told Arthur Richman, his head of Public Relations at the time, to call Mel. The rest is history. It’s no coincidence that Gooden was able to rebound as beautifully as he did in that 1996 season, that included a no hitter at Yankee Stadium against Alex Rodriguez and the Seattle Mariners.

Today I called Doc, who was at Mets’ fantasy camp, and when he answered the phone he was crying. He said that there aren’t words to say how he feels. He said the last time he cried like this was when his mom died and before that it was in 2010 when George Steinbrenner died. Speaking through his tears, Gooden noted how good it was that Hal Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family honored Mel at Yankee Stadium in 2015. It was probably the last true highlight of Mel’s life.

The Boss and Mel were my baseball fathers. Like your real parents, you just can’t replace these people because of the intense emotions that you go through with them while working in a very intense and demanding business in this extremely crazy world that we live in.

Dwight Gooden is very lucky because, during his worst moments, his baseball fathers showed him more love then anyone in his situation would’ve gotten from anybody else. People like Mel Stottlemyre are not that common in the business of baseball.

Like Doc Gooden there are a lot of former players with broken hearts tonight. Players that, at one time or another, were touched by the kindness and generosity of Mel Stottlemyre. Just ask “Dr. K,” Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden if you don’t believe me.

Doc Gooden makes a house call to visit BATBOY

As the “BATBOY” producer for its first four productions in 2018, I couldn’t help but notice the excitement and anticipation from the folks that were lined up outside the heralded Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore, Long Island. It was Sunday, January 6th, and it was the 2019 debut and fifth show featuring New York Baseball Legend Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

“Doc’s” house call, along with the amazing performances from its actors and musicians at this most recent event, occurred before a sold-out, standing room only crowd where fans had to be turned away at the door, was utterly spectacular. The energy in the crowd was electric as they waited patiently for the doors to open. Unfortunately not everyone was able to experience it. This development created sincere regret for the “BATBOY” himself. “To have people turned away at the door on a wintry Sunday night is highly upsetting to me. I wish they could have been there for the show,” Ray Negron said. Without prompting from this writer, Negron went on to mention, “however, to see all the seats filled with others standing throughout the wings of this historic comedic establishment was an incredible sight to see. This is a venue which has featured comedians such as Eddie Murphy, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Artie Lange and Kevin James, now “BATBOY” and Dwight Gooden…………………….well, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Similar to past shows, this performance featured incredible talent from its own actors/actresses. From musical legend Pepe Cardona from “Alive N’ Kickin” to the sultry sound of “DIVANATION” to the operatic voice of Adam Unger (who played Bobby Murcer), to the candid, intimate conversation between Ray Negron, Larry Davis and Dwight Gooden on center stage immediately following the “BATBOY” performance/showcase offered a wide ranging variety of talented performers.

Negron was proud to be a part of this memorable evening. “This was a showcase for our extremely talented cast and performers,” Negron said. “We wanted them to demonstrate their God-given gifts to the folks that were in the audience such as Ken Decamillo (William Morris Agency), Joey Dedio (Film Producer) and Gene Gagliardi (Music Producer).” “This showcase was a chance to begin working out some of its kinks before our production embarks on its 2019 tour highlighted by the return to the Tilles Center on May 22nd.”

Making his Musical “BATBOY” debut was singer/songwriter Alex Martin whose rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” brought the crowd to its feet as well as Cardona’s original ode to Thurman Munson called “Won’t Be the Same Without You.”

Cardona shared his thoughts about the reception of the audience after he and his son, Timothy Cardona, performed this emotionally charged song which reminds us all that it will be 40 years since the Yankee Captain passed away in a fiery plane crash on August 2, 1979. “Seeing the crowd’s reaction standing and applauding with tears in their eyes brought tears to my eyes. That’s what the song is all about….remembering Thurman. Thurman brought people together on and off the field. This show highlights his love affair with his wife Diana Munson (played by GiGi Cormio).” Cardona added,” Frankly I was floored and very touched by the reaction. I had their full attention and they were able to hear the words and appreciate them. I can see us doing that at the stadium you know?”

Other “BATBOY” mainstays Martin Knapp (Billy Martin), Terrell Carpenter (Reggie Jackson), Luis Castillo (Edwin), Carmine Elvezio (Little Ray), Charlie Santora (Yogi Berra), Shane Springer (Roy White), Theresa Farrell (Olga), Aris Sakellaridis (Sparky Lyle), Steve Vaccaro (Marshmallow Salesman), Lisa Coppola (Salesman’s Girlfriend) were spot on.

Newcomer and established actor Bryan Dromerhauser, who played a sinister gang member, gave the crowd a dramatic performance recreating a gang scene that Negron horrifically experienced when he was 17 years old. . However, it was Dwight Gooden’s appearance that brought “heat” to the raucous atmosphere just like one of his powerful fastballs. As highlights of his May 14, 1996 No-Hitter at Yankee Stadium were being played on the big screen for all to see, Ray Negron introduced Dr. K. to join him up on the stage. As he approached the stage, the entire sold out crowd stood up and cheered for their hero. It was reminiscent of sitting in the left field “K” corner at Shea Stadium standing up applauding after every strikeout and posting a”K” on the railing.

“WOW, what a great feeling,” Doc said. You guys are great (referring to the audience). It is always nice to return home,” Gooden announced. He then began rhythmically clapping to the crowd cheering, “Dwight, Dwight, Dwight.” The relationship that Doc has with New York is amazing. After 16 years of playing major league baseball and being inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 2010, his relationship with New Yorkers will remain lovingly secured forever.
Receiving the 1984 rookie of the year award and 1985 Cy Young award were not even discussed on this special night. Both Ray Negron and Larry Davis asked some very personal, fun-loving questions that Doc answered candidly as they reflected on some funny times. This empowered the audience to ask their own questions as well.

There was a moment during the Q & A that Gooden talked about “battling addiction demons.” He then leaned over, as he was sitting on a stool center stage, to make eye contact with Negron, who was to his left. Gooden emphatically and gracefully stated, “I want you all in the audience to know that Ray Negron saved my life. He was always there for me. Protecting me and always looking out for me. I will never forget those times until the day I die.” There was not a dry eye in the house, including Negron. Both men got up and hugged each other in loving support. The crowd began to humbly applaud with sincere, heartfelt emotion. Gooden then faced the crowd and revealed his love, gratitude and appreciation for the late, great George Steinbrenner. The audience stood in silence feeling the seemingly pure affection Gooden had with the Boss.

Yes, the Doc made a house call on this cold night in Long Island to share his love, gratitude and lifelong appreciation to the “BATBOY.” Maybe, just maybe, Doc may appear at other “BATBOY” performances in New York or in the Tampa area. However, for now, Gooden is off to Mets’ Fantasy camp in Florida and the “BATBOY” will be doing the same at Yankee Fantasy Camp. Pitchers and catchers report in only 25 days…….. PLAY BALL!!!!!

Negron: A Christmas Story-The Yankee Way

Christmas for me has become a very difficult time of year. The reason for this is because the person that loved this holiday so much in my life was my sweet mom, Jenny. She used to fuss around the house making sure that she had a gift for anyone that might show up during the holidays. She would have her concentrated gifts and she would have her generic gifts. Either way, they were both generally nice gifts and it made her feel good because as a kid she knew what it was like not to have, especially at Christmas. As a kid, my mom made sure that we always had a nice holiday and whether or not we could afford it, she always came really close to getting us what we wanted and always gave the credit to Santa Claus.

This is the second Christmas without my mom and I miss her more than words can say. As a four year old, my biological father left us and my mom would always say, “It’s you and me against the world.” Years later a lady by the name of Helen Reddy would sing a song with the same title and I swore that my mom had collaborated with the famous singer on the song.

A little over a year ago, I was speaking at Suffolk Community College addressing a bunch of at risk kids. Their counselor was s psychologist by the name of Steve Vaccaro. We became close friends because of his love of young people and his understanding of his father not being home and how important that is to a child. We also had a very strong bond with our love of Thurman Munson and the New York Yankees. During the last eighteen months I can’t tell you how many Munson stories I have told Steve, and he can’t get enough. I think one of the happiest days of his life was when I told him that Munson was truly an amazing person. He was just happy to know that had he met his hero he would not have been disappointed. The other thing that really made Steve feel closer to Munson was the fact that like us, Thurman’s dad also was not around. Unless you experience it you don’t know what that feeling is like. Sometimes as a youngster you think to yourself, what role had I played in his leaving. Young people go through a lot of pain because of this. I was lucky because during my most difficult time as a youngster, a group of guys called the Yankees came into my life and made me somebody.  Most people aren’t as lucky as I was.

When Steve’s dad left they had to put Steve and his brother in foster homes and shelters because his mom was very sick. It’s a very sad story but like me, at least Steve had his mother. The one big difference between our situations was that my mom was extremely strong and healthy. Like me, Steve loved his mom more than life. Whenever his mom was feeling better they would let Steve and his brother stay with his mom and when she would get sick again, they would be put back into foster care. Through it all, I find it amazing that Steve and his brother were good students, got their educations.  Steve became a Phycologist and his brother became a police officer. Steve just didn’t want to let his mother down. It was almost as if whatever strength she had left in her body she willed it to her two sons. Steve’s mom suffered from Multiple Sclerosis’s, however through her pain and suffering she always showed her kids the importance of love to one and all. That’s why if you know Steve then you would understand the extremely decent and good person that this guy is.

During the holidays, there are many food drives all around New York. I know that there are a lot of poor people in the tri-state area but I never knew just how many. My friends and I attend many of these programs and we also have my kids from the Hank’s Yanks baseball program collect canned goods and donate to the different boroughs. This year, Steve asked me to go with him to Yankee Stadium because at Christmas the Yankees have the biggest food drive in the city. Naturally I said, “Let’s do it.” We loaded my vehicle with over five hundred pounds of food and took off for the Stadium. As we were crossing the Triboro Bridge, a tractor trailer had overturned and we were stuck in traffic on the bridge and not moving. Steve started to get nervous because we had been on the bridge for over an hour with no hope of movement in sight. I told Steve not to worry that we would just take the food to Long Island Harvest, which is another pantry we deal with. Steve said that it had to be the Yankees. It was then that he explained how through all his suffering as a kid, the Bronx Bombers kept him going and how the spirit of Thurman Munson always made him feel like he had to always do the right thing. At that moment, he asked me if I could call someone so that when they cleared the bridge we could get it to the Yankees at the Stadium. At that moment I thought of one of the heads of security at Yankee Stadium named Gomez and even though he has such a demanding job, he always has the heart and makes the time to help people so I knew that he would help us. We are in short demand of people like this.

I was able to get Gomez on the phone, and I explained the situation.  When he called me back he explained that the food drive was over but to get the food to the Stadium and they would take care of it. Steve was so happy that he almost cried. This is not an exaggeration, it was as if it had to be done at all costs. When we got to the stadium, security was waiting and helped us unload the car. Before we left, Steve asked if we could take a picture by the Statue of George Steinbrenner.  When I took Steve’s picture next to the Boss, the big smile on Steve’s face told me that his Christmas chores were complete.

What the world needs now is more people like Steve Vaccaro and the Yankees, who are always there to help people in need.   I also need to thank Steve for making me understand why I continue to love the Yankees so much.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

–Ray Negron

Rooting For The Boss

Tell me that you want to meet a perfect man and I will show you God. With that being said, no matter how nice an individual is, how many people someone has saved, how many turkeys one has bought for the poor, you will always find some form of imperfection.

In life, no one is perfect. Some just know how to hide it better. Someone once told me that you never want to meet your heroes because you may not like what you find out about them.

If you ever read my book (Yankee Miracles) you find out that my initial experience in meeting Mickey Mantle was not a pleasant one. To me, Mantle was a “God”, yet he broke my heart on that day. I never looked at him in the same way for a very long time, however as time went on I saw the heart of who this man was. One day, Mickey said, “I’m your role model, don’t be like me.” Before he died, he tried so hard to make young people understand the dangers of alcohol abuse, what it did to him and the people that he cared about. His efforts that last year of his life truly made the Mick a hall of famer in my eyes.

If you have seem my play BATBOY, there is a scene where George Steinbrenner finds out that my cousin had been killed in a Bronx Street. He actually went to pick me up. I was there with a friend. As we were walking away he turned to my friend and asked him if he wanted a job also. Naturally my friend said yes and he ended up being a batboy in the visitors’ clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. To this day, my friend Hector Pagan says that being a batboy was one of the proudest moments of his life. Hector went on to become a state trooper and would be elevated to senior investigator for the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force. The support that George Steinbrenner had for law enforcement was a big influence in Hector choosing this career path. After thirty three years Hector will be retiring yet still says that next to the birth of his kids, his biggest thrill was being a Yankee Batboy.

When asked if George Steinbrenner belonged in the Hall of Fame, Hector responded by saying, “The world knew that he took the Yankees to another level in winning. That he made baseball fun again not just in New York, but everywhere. What the world didn’t know was how he could make someone like me who essentially came from nothing feel like I was really someone special. For that I will always be grateful. It helped me to learn how to be able to do my job efficiently yet always have a heart at the same time.”

Hector was one of many kids all around the country that got to know the Boss in a very different way. If you had to put a number on it would be impossible. He just did it to do it.

One of the classic lines that the Boss would throw at me was one time I had a group of kids in the park and I asked him if he would come over to say hi to them and his security told the Boss that the kids weren’t affiliated with any organization. The Boss immediately screamed out, “The Hell with Labels. Where are the kids?”

Michael B Jordan, the star of Black Panther and Creed, told me that he has known of the man known as the Boss since he was a kid and can’t believe that he is not in the Hall.

Chazz Palminteri, the star of a Bronx Tale and Oscar nominated actor, feels that the Boss almost reinvented the sport when he bought the Yankees from CBS.

Harold Reynolds, former all-star second baseman and sports anchor for MLB network, said,”The first time the Boss put his arm around me I knew he loved me. I loved his philanthropic ways to no end. I loved the way he treated you. This man is a Hall of Famer.”

Dave Valle, former catcher and broadcaster for the MLB network, said, “The first time I met Mr. Steinbrenner he took an interest in me as a person just because I was one of those New York City kids growing up. We had a nice conversation, and when the game that I was broadcasting went extra innings he knew of my famous appetite so he sent a bunch of hotdogs for me and my broadcast partner. That’s the man I knew. Yes he is a hall of Famer for so many reasons.”

 

Dick Vitale, famous basketball announcer and giant baseball fan. This is what he had to say–

“Come on Baby you know George Steinbrenner was and is a hall of Famer in more ways than one. He took Baseball and put it on the front pages. The good that he did for the sport and sports in general can’t ever be repaid .What he did for the good of man can’t definitely not be repaid Baby.”

 

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs put it very simple

“Absolutely- 100% when you think of owners in sports you think of one person George M Steinbrenner.”

 

In this life no one but no one is perfect.  The biggest lesson that I learned from this great man is that everyone deserves a second chance, sometimes a third, fourth and fifth,  as was the case with Billy Martin.  The Boss  always tried to find the good in everyone.  This time, why can’t we find the good in him? It would truly be a great “Bronx Tale.”

Negron: Through a Broken Heart, We Must Give Peace a Chance !

The Tree of life Synagogue was the scene of one of the worst disasters in the city of Pittsburgh’s history. When I heard the news the first thing I did was to call the family of Rabbi Arthur Schneier.

Rabbi Schneier is known as one of the most respected religious leaders in the world. The good Rabbi has been the head of the Park East Synagogue in New York for over thirty years and is the founder and President of The Appeal of Conscience foundation.

For over fifty years he has used this foundation to help promote peaceful coexistence through interfaith dialogue with organizations worldwide.

I know how blessed I am, and when situations like this happen I always feel like I have to try to extend a hand to thy fellow man.

Karen Dresbach who is the executive Vice President of the Appeal of Conscience foundation and the daughter of Rabbi Schneier answered the phone and immediately told me that her 87 year old dad had already sprung into action and was headed with other top officials in a private plane to Pittsburgh. I told Karen to let her father know that if he needed me to go to Pittsburgh that I would be there.

We need to help the people of our country and our world understand that our life is just to short to continue with this madness.

We are all people first. To waste time thinking about hate and jealousy is just maddening.

Our World is a beautiful world. The things that we can do with precious time is a blessing. To do evil crimes and then have to spend the rest of your life asking yourself ‘What did I do?’ is such a waste of life.

In the five years that I have gotten to know the good Rabbi Schneier I also got to meet some of the great world leaders and to a man they always say the same thing. Through Rabbi Schneier we promote love and peaceful coexistence within all races.

I thank God that Rabbi Schneier is in Pittsburgh with his army of people that understand that as John Lennon once said , We must GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!

Negron: Happy 78th Birthday John Lennon

Tuesday October 9th would of marked John Lennon’s 78th Birthday. The Iconic Beatle made such an impact in his 40 years on earth that to this day he is still so fondly remembered.

John Lennon once said give peace a chance, but like John f Kennedy Martin Luther king Jr and Muhatma Ghandi before him was shot down by those that just did not care for peace in this beautiful world.

In The fall of 1977 after Reggie Jackson became the king of New York because of one of the greatest performances in sports history , we went on a jog through Central Park and accidentally ran into John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono. I actually saw him first and stopped Reggie. Even though he would tell us that he knew nothing about baseball he recognized Reggie right away.

Reggie had been on the cover of so many newspapers and magazines that Hellen Keller would of recognized him.

Lennon immediately congratulated Reggie and kidded with him that he was more famous than all the other Jackson’s put together ( he was referring to Michael and the Jackson 5 ). He told Reggie that maybe he would go and see him perform sometime. Reggie said that he would love to invite him. I actually dropped off Reggies contact info to Lennon’s residence at the Dakota on 72nd Street but unfortunately we would never hear from Lennon.

It was a very sweet moment with an incredible person. What I loved the most was that even Reggie Jackson, the king of The greatest sport in the world at that time truly did understand the incredible magnitude of John Lennon.

Reggie really wasn’t a Beatles fan but he loved the fact that Lennon understood the magnitude of what Mr October had accomplished . The coolest thing that I remember was that when we started to run again Reggie would say ‘ Can you believe that a Beatle actually knew what I did’.

BATBOY… The play is back on October 17th at the Argyle Theatre in Babylon.
October 19th at Hostos Community College in the Bronx.
October 23rd at the Tilles Center In C.W. Post College.