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.