All Help for Teens, No Drama, at Trump Event

The First Annual Hank’s Yanks Golf Classic charity event was held July 6, at the brand new Trump golf links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, designed by Jack Nicklaus.

There was no politics as usual, no whisper about immigration, political candidate issues, or athlete drama. The focus of the day was on underprivileged teenagers from all ethnic groups.

The tournament is an effort to raise money in support of Hank’s Yanks Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization; the Kenneth A. Smaltz Sr. Foundation for Alzheimer’s Care, another 501(c)3, which offers support for people living with dementia, their families and caregivers, providing leadership in policy and services; and the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation, also a 501(c)3.

It was the first high-profile event at this highly anticipated new golf course. New York’s first in 52 years. The event featured a long list of celebrities for the participants including Rudy Giuliani, Hank Steinbrenner, Alex Rodriguez, Darryl Strawberry, Tim Raines, Rick Cerone, David Wells, David Cone, Richard Gere, Dellin Betances, Chazz Palminteri, Greg Jagenburg, and many others.

Film producer Joey Dedio made a big splash with the kids that aspired to be actors. The funds raised for Hank’s Yanks will support both the baseball activities as well as the community outreach work of the outstanding young athletes involved with Hank’s Yanks — the youth baseball teams backed by New York Yankees owner, Hank Steinbrenner.

Among the honorees was Nick Tedesco of Sachem East High School, who received the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award. Tedesco credits his time with Hank Steinbrenner for his success.

Also honored for their work in the community were the Scranton Wilkes-Barre-Railriders, whose General Manager Jeremy Ruby accepted the award, and Entrepreneur Alfred Zaccagnino for his fundraising efforts and work with underprivileged children in New York City this past winter. MLB analyst, Dave Valle received the “First Annual Patrick Kevin Brosnahan Award” for his philanthropic work in the Dominican Republic.

Former baseball great Tim Raines said, “This is probably the best celebrity golf event that I have ever attended. We almost hated to see the day end.”

One of the hosts of the event was Donald Trump — who came quietly and voluntarily to make this event happen for these kids who gathered around Trump in the back of the room as he moved his way forward to speak. Ironically, most of these youngsters were Hispanic.

They are a dedicated bunch of kids that come from all walks of life and not only play at a high level of baseball, but also perform both individual and group community service projects throughout the year.

 Many come from tough areas, and baseball is a way to keep them going in the right direction. Fifteen past Hanks Yanks players have been drafted in Major League Baseball and more than thirty players are playing baseball at colleges throughout the country.

In his speech Trump showed the utmost respect for the boss, George Steinbrenner, Hank Steinbrenner, and Alex Rodriquez. When Steinbrenner was asked by a reporter if Trump should or shouldn’t be at the event, Steinbrenner replied, “He has always been a loyal friend to my dad and my family, and I will always be loyal to my friends.”

Alex Rodriquez spoke after spending a solid two hours at the event with all of the kids who circled around him to take pictures and hear words of inspiration.

He also seemed to have a very positive love-in with Hank Steinbrenner who had nothing but praise for the superstar stating, “I genuinely appreciate the fact that he spent his off day with his daughter who he brought here to the event.” As the two formed a very strong alliance for the cause near the clubhouse, Rodriquez said, “I thought that this was too important an event not to attend, and my daughter got a lot out of it. We are blessed to be here.”

Hanks Yanks compete against teams from all over the tri-state area. To see Hank Steinbrenner and Donald Trump, two long-time friends hug and congratulate each other on the day’s festivities was heartwarming as it reflected on the causes they came to support.

Nobody summed up the event better at the end of the night than Academy Award nominated actor Chazz Palminteri, who cited a quote from the movie, “A Bronx Tale.” Palminteri said, “When it comes to the kids of this country, there is nothing worse than wasted talent.” On the 5th anniversary of the passing of George M Steinbrenner, he is missed more than ever.

Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, “Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers.” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

A Baseball Father’s Day, Rife With Men and Memories

For baseball fans on Father’s Day at PNC Field, home of the Yankees triple-A ball club, there is nothing like the excitement of a day at the ballpark, especially when they get to reminisce with legends and icons of the past when they once again walk through the gates of a stadium.

The clout of the ball not as loud, the speed of the game slowed down, and the gentle smile of the player touches each fan, but the pinstripes never fade. Kudos to RailRiders’ owners Dave Abrams, Bob Mills, and Grant Cagle, who truly understand the meaning of what the Yankees are all about as they honored 1978 World Series MVP Brian Doyle.

Abrams said, “This event is our way of thanking our fans by enabling them to see their Yankees heroes and interact with them in an intimate setting, while sharing a special Father’s Day with their families.”

For players, it must be a humbling feeling for the greats as new players and faces take their place, but their place in the game and in the hearts of the fans is a generational cycle which keeps the love for the game alive through memories which make and break players.

What would Thurman Munson say on a day like this if he were alive? His death left a tremendous void as he was arguably one of the greatest catchers to play the game, but his life was cut short on that fateful day of Aug. 2, 1979, in a most horrific way.

Legendary Yankees such as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, and Roger Maris, as well as many of their fans have passed on too, but still for today’s fans it’s the priceless memories and moments that remain.

“The idea for the event came after my friend Brian Doyle announced that he had Parkinson’s disease,” said RailRiders’ co-owner Grant Cagle. Our partnership with the New York Yankees has made this game possible, and we are glad that so many former Yankees are showing their support for Brian by joining us for this day.”

Former Yankee fan faves Mickey Rivers, Roy White, Charlie Hayes, Pat Kelly, Hector Lopez, Don Larson, and many others came back to celebrate a life of baseball.

Besides the game, which extended from five innings to six in a spirited performance, it was heartwarming when Reggie Jackson, Mickey Rivers, and Roy White got excited when I put on Thurman Munson’s number 15 in honor of our team captain.

 This is an incredible organization, first class all the way. And it was wonderful to share this special Father’s Day with my son Joe, who really had never been around the Yankees until now, and he got a great sense of what the pride of the Yankees signifies.

RailRiders Co-Owner Bob Mills said, “The players could not have been more giving. They played that sixth inning as a bonus to the fans. When they decided to play that extra inning for the fans, it showed that was truly for the love of the game.”

Proceeds from the event will benefit the National Parkinson Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Last weekend I visited with the kids at St Joseph’s Hospital in Scranton, Pa. I had an incredible time reading books to the kids along with George Steinbrenner’s godson and the RailRiders intern, Slater Fuchs. Then we headed over to PNC Field and marched with the Girl Scouts of America for their annual evening at the stadium. Last month I participated as the Railriders hosted the Boy Scouts of America for a “Henry & Me” movie night.

Earlier in the week, Bronx Chamber of Commerce President Lenny Caro and I visited with the kids and I gave a motivational speech at Public School 48 in the Bronx along with a former aide to President Obama, Michael Blake. The fact that we come from such diverse backgrounds showed the kids that they can achieve anything in life if they try hard enough.

Graduation time is here as I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Bronx Aviation High School. It is incredible to see that when the kids hear that I was associated with George Steinbrenner they are so appreciative. The boss is never forgotten.

Ray Negron is a sports executive with over 40 years of experience in baseball. His first job came from a chance encounter with George Steinbrenner as a youth. He has become an American film producer, a best-selling author, and a philanthropist. His memoir is entitled, “Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers.” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.