Negron: Mayor Honors Doc Gooden With Key To The City

October of 1986 the New York Mets won the World Series and were riding on the Canyon Of Heroes with then Mayor Ed Koch, Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday. The lone person missing that day was the Mets 21-year old phenom, Dwight Gooden.  Everyone asked Darryl Strawberry where he was and Strawberry said he went by the house and did not get an answer.

It was later revealed that Dwight had given into his demons the night before and succumb to the deadly drug known as cocaine. For years Gooden had to listen to the bad jokes and was always asked about where did he end up that night. Gooden would laugh on the outside but cry on the inside. It was something that he was always ashamed of.

He felt he let so many people down, especially his mother and father. Dwight has been lucky because he got to play for the Yankees and won two more world championships and got to go to those parades but even that didn’t take away the pain and humiliation of what has broken his heart the past thirty years.

This past year, Dwight lost his beloved mother Ella Mae Gooden probably the closest person to him next to his children, the anchor of his life and the person who no matter how far he had fallen would always be there to pick him up. Two months ago he got into a public and verbal fight with Darryl Strawberry over the possibilities of more drug use.

Things were said that basically hurt both parties, however, if you know the history of these two men, then you know they are truly like brothers who fight, scream and claw at each other, but at the end of the day you know that you love each other and will always be there for one other.

Many people, myself included, hated all  the negativity that was going on between these two really good guys. A mutual friend, strongly involved with the media, Amy Heart, has known these two gentleman for quite some time and felt that enough was enough. One way or another, Amy got Doc and Darryl together in the same room and would not let them leave until they had taken care of their differences.

If you really know Doc and Darryl, that was a dangerous act to take because of the type of tempers these guys have, the situation could have backfired and these two could have ended up killing each other.  However, true love prevailed and these former New York baseball giants ended up hugging each other.

Amy, being the soul that she is, understood how much missing that parade had beat up on the core of Gooden’s soul. She had a friend of  Mayor Bill de Blassio  and explained the situation and the next thing you know we were having a ceremony on the steps of City Hall with Dwight, Darryl, and some of his 1986 teammates.

This was the first time that I would meet the Mayor and really appreciated his compassion for Dwight Gooden and his situation. The Mayor looked at and listened to Gooden more like a person who needed a hand as opposed to someone that had been a fallen hero.

There were hundreds of fans in attendance as the Mayor gave Dwight the “Key To The City.” The Mayor introduced all the special guests who were there. He even introduced me as Ray Negron from the other team in New York, and in my own way I was flattered because I was there representing my beloved Yankees. And, Gooden did have some incredible good moments there too.

Mayor De Blassio finally called Gooden to the podium and he got a wonderful ovation from all the fans who were there. Gooden was very honest with the fans about why he didn’t show up that day. He spoke of his pain and mentioned the fact that he was extremely grateful to the Mayor for letting this happen and he was also extremely grateful to Amy Heart for caring enough about Dwight Gooden the person that she would help facilitate this wonderful day for Dwight.

When Gooden broke down and cried at the podium, I knew that those tears were meant for two special ladies that he misses very much. One being Adele Smithers the pioneer of drug recovery who has helped pick Gooden up on many occasions and just recently passed away, and of course his incredible mom who taught Dwight that love would always conquer all.

All in all it was just another nice day in the paradise known as baseball.

Weekends with Ray: ESPN 1050 Deportes Saturday and Sunday 12-2pm. Read Ray on Newsmax

Negron: The Natural – The Story of Kenny Grassano

Kenny Grassano

It was the spring of 1984 when I received a phone call from a long time friend and former batting practice pitcher Tony Ferrara. Tony called to tell me that Robert Redford was making a movie called, The Natural. He was looking to cast baseball players to play on a fictional team called the “New York Knights.”

I went to meet with the producers because they knew I had played some minor league baseball. They immediately told me that this was a period piece that took place in 1939 — a time, when there weren’t any blacks or dark skinned Hispanics who played in the big leagues.

Nevertheless, they told me that they would consider whether I could pass for an Italian. I thought that maybe I would make the cut since I had already done a baseball film with Andy Garcia called, “Blue Skies Again.” To work with Robert Redford would be a dream come true.

In the meantime, along with Tony Ferrara, I helped the producers cast other players and provided instruction to the producers on how baseball teams run practices.

Two days later, I received the call I was dreading. The producers told me that they were not going to be able to use me in the film, but would love if I signed on as an adviser. Naturally, I was extremely disappointed, because I thought that this was going to be a great film — and it was.

I told the casting director that I had a guy that played with me in high school and that I competed against in the minor leagues when he played for the Cardinals organization and me for the Pirates organization. It was then that I recommended Kenny Grassano for the role that I had hoped to play. And if that wasn’t enough, he was Italian. The casting director responded, “oh no, is he dark?” And with a smile on my face, I told him, “no, he’s whiter than you” — and we laughed.

That afternoon, I called Kenny and told him that I had a movie part for him. Naturally, people that know me well know that I can be a practical joker — so Kenny never believed it was true. I had to convince him to take a ride up to a remote field in Westchester, where the filmmakers were holding workouts. It wasn’t until he arrived and saw Robert Redford that he believed me.

As a matter of fact, Kenny was so good, that they scripted lines for him. And Kenny was a guy that had never acted in his life. Kenny had the looks of a Ben Affleck and if he wanted to, could have made his living acting.

From what I understand, Robert Redford loved the scenes that Kenny appeared in. Kenny was a natural. Just like he was on the baseball field.

Even though I had gone on to make other films, I regretted that I never had the opportunity to appear in such an epic production as The Natural. However, Kenny Grassano was so grateful that he never forgot that I opened the door for him to be able to appear in one of the biggest productions in Hollywood history.

Years later, Kenny would end up suffering from multiple sclerosis. Kenny fought like a champion to keep living life and to be an incredible father to his children. It was very difficult for me to see Kenny in this condition, because if you knew him, he was a strong, beautifully chiseled athlete. To see this disease tear him down and later, he would also end up suffering from cancer, there just aren’t words to explain why such a good person had to suffer so much.

Despite his trials and tribulations, Kenny never felt sorry for himself. I will never forget when Kenny asked me to take a ride to a baseball facility to watch his son practice. He tried to act like he wasn’t sick — but he tripped and fell to the floor. It reminded me of the scene in the Pride of the Yankees when Lou Gehrig fell in the locker room and the team pretended that they didn’t see anything. However, with Kenny, he didn’t try to hide it and he didn’t give a damn. He got right up and said that he couldn’t wait for me to see his son throw.

That was probably the last time I saw Kenny alive. He would die of cancer a little while later.

This week, Kenny’s youngest son, Vincent, graduated from college with a degree in sports management. I am supposed to start helping produce a film this summer called, “Stano,” a fantasy about a guy from the Bronx who has bad luck, goes to prison, and when he gets out, still has a desire to play ball.

One of the first things I plan to do for that production is to hire Vincent as one of the ball players. I saw a picture of him, and the resemblance to his old man is uncanny. As great as The Natural was, maybe, just maybe, Vincent Grassano will bring the same blessing to the production of Stano.

In life, I have been fortunate to know some wonderful people with incredible hearts. Few rival that of, Munson, Murcer, Catfish, Billy, the Boss, and Kenny Grassano.

Negron: For the Love of the Game and the Yankees

TAMPA – Each spring produces a unique baseball story. For whatever the reason, it’s core seems to be at Steinbrenner Field. This year was no different.

A few days before spring training began, I walked into the Yankee locker room to check out Reggie Jackson’s locker. The volume of apparel (t-shirts, shoes, etc.) present typically signifies the proximity to Mr. October’s arrival. It’s an old trick that Pete Sheehy, the famed clubhouse manager taught me.

As the players arrival draws near, Pete would stock with equipment Babe Ruth’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and later Joe DiMaggio’s and Mickey Mantle’s lockers. Pete told me that it would naturally work out that way, it really wasn’t planned.

When I looked to the right of Reggie’s locker, I saw a name that I recognized — but not from Major League Baseball. The nameplate on the locker read “Mike Megale.” When I saw that, I said to myself, I wonder if it’s the same guy that I know. The Mike Megale that I know is a guy that works with young players — both high school and college — in the Westchester and Connecticut parts of the Tri-State area. Mike actually works out of the former Mets and Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine’s baseball facility in Connecticut.

Richard Gere and his best friend, Russell Hernandez, the construction mogul, first told me about Mike and the great work that he does with young players. So, I took my son Ricky to take some hitting lessons from him. The thing that I know about Mike is he is very intense and passionate about the game. He is not afraid to work and his love of the game speaks for itself.

At that moment, I grabbed my cell phone and called Mike. I told him I was standing in the locker room at GMS Field and saw a name on the locker next to Reggie’s that I recognized. He started to laugh and told me that yes, it was him. All of a sudden, he asked me, “Are you really standing in the locker room? Is it really next to Reggie’s?” I told him it was actually two lockers from Reggie’s. He asked if I would do him a favor and take a picture and send it to him so he could share it with his family.

Over the years, I have seen so many players walk into the Yankee locker room for the first time and experience the same emotion. If you have ever seen the movie The Pride of the Yankees, there is that famous scene of Lou Gehrig walking up to his locker for the first time with that look of true excitement. I could understand how Mike felt the exact same way.

I asked Mike, “How did this happen?” He told me that he had been training Brian Cashman’s son at the Valentine facility in Connecticut. The fact that Mike had played pro ball with various organizations endeared him to Cashman. Cashman knew that Mike was familiar with the different players and coaches in the area. Cashman had also told Mike that he was looking for a bullpen catcher to help the Yankees during spring training. Without batting an eye, Mike told Cashman that he had his man.

Knowing Brian the way I do, I’m sure he had seen enough of Mike’s work to know that he would do a terrific job. Mike showed me a video of himself preparing for spring training. That video included Mike getting in front of a pitching machine and catching balls coming in at over 100 miles per hour.

During spring training, I grew to know Mike well. He actually bored me because at dinner all he would talk about was baseball and more baseball. At one dinner we were eating with President Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen and his son, Jake, who happens to be a very talented left handed pitcher. Mike actually gave Jake a pitching lesson in the middle of the restaurant — our rice and beans had to wait.

Every morning, Mike would arrive at the ballpark by 6 a.m. and was the last to leave. At the start of training camp, he asked me if I had any advice for him. I told him spring training would fly by and because it was the Yankees, he would grow to love the game more than ever. I also told him that when the end comes, even though he might be disappointed, he would know that whatever success the Yankees have this season, he would have played a part in it.

During spring training, I keep an eye on everything. Joe Girardi runs the best spring camp since when Dick Houser used to handle Billy Martin’s camp. Through it all, I saw a very intense young man work his ass off to make the Yankees better. No one worked harder and I’m sure that Brian Cashman got exactly what he had expected from Mike.

At the end of camp, Mike was thanked for his efforts. In his eyes I saw the look of a guy who was both proud and saddened that camp had come to an end. Mike did what millions wish they could do. The time was short, and he was not ready to say goodbye to the Yankees. The magic of being part of the Yankees, like love, stays with you forever.

I never saw anyone love the Yankees more than George Steinbrenner and I remember he warned me once about how powerful that team can be. I talked to Brian Cashman and to many coaches and players and, to a man, they told me that Mike Megale did a fantastic job. He made their jobs easier because of how hard he worked. As one coach told me, “Any success we have this season, Mike is a part of this, because he helped us prepare.”

Similarly, Gary Sanchez told me, “Mike Megale earned his stripes, the Yankee pinstripes.”

Negron: Thoughts On Jackie Robinson Day

Jackie Robinson

This poem was sent to me this morning by Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle. It was done by a 7th grade student from Michigan. I thought I should share this with the world.

In 1947, the Dodgers were Brooklyn’s team;
And the man in charge had a dream.

To make baseball equal for all;
Because black players could not scream, “Play Ball”.

Oh, sure, “they” would play on dirt fields far and wide;
But never on a Major League diamond could a Negro hit, catch or slide.

The “other” league had great players, this is true;
Satchel, Josh, Cool-Papa to name a few.

But Mr. Rickey needed a man who “could turn the other cheek”;
He needed a player of courage, who would be strong, not weak.

For insults would be hurled and this man would be put to the test;
Throughout the season this man would have to be at his very best.

He would have to ignore the pain and vitriol;
Just to prove he could “Play Ball”
With those who scorned and loathed him;
With those whose lights burned dim.

From far out West he came;
Jack Robinson was his God-given name.

A great athlete from UCLA;
He starred for the Kansas City Monarchs during the day.
A base stealing threat and slugger by trade;
Branch Rickey knew this man was courageously made.

He would not wilt under the slings and barbs that were sure to come;
He would rise up and with his teammates become a “Brooklyn Bum”.

Starting in Montreal, he showed his baseball skill;
Staring down bigotry, he proved his will.

Earning a spot on the big-league roster;
Hate, resentment most fans and teammates would foster.

Donning number Forty Two, Jackie stepped onto Ebbets Field and heard a loud “boo”;
It got louder at each city he went; the fans, opponents all filled with resentment.

But, Robinson kept playing – Jackie persevered;
Singles he hit, catches he made and bases he cleared.

To the pennant the Dodgers he led, always remembering what Branch Rickey had said:
“You must turn the other cheek, be courageous, not weak”;

Rookie of the Year, MVP and Hall of Fame, are some awards Jackie Robinson earned;
But what makes him special, is that fire that burned.
To be the first, a trail blazer some might say;
So that players of all color could get a chance to play.

By Grace Boczar, 7th Grade, Plymouth Scholars School

Negron: The Pride of the Yankees and The Bronx – The Margaret Rodriguez Story

The Yankees held their annual welcome home dinner at the New York Hilton on 6th avenue in midtown. I received several phone calls from friends that attended the affair and they reported it was a truly memorable event. Charlie Santoro of the YES network could not stop telling me that Derek Jeter was effusive in his praise of the organization.

It was great to hear that Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal talked about her dad and how much he cared about Derek Jeter and the fact that Jeter had always been so respectful of the Boss. It was wonderful that the Yankees recognized the Boss’s great press agent Howard Rubenstein. Howard has always been one of the classiest individuals associated with the New York Yankees and has been my friend for countless years.

But the thing that made me most happy was when I received phone calls from Dan Quintero, the head of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club to tell me about how proud he was of a young lady, a student of his club, who was selected as student of the year. He told me that she was a remarkable story and suggested I write a story on her. He asked that I call his assistant at the club, Harold Maldonado, so that he could provide the specifics because Harold was present and Dan was not.

When I reached Harold, he was so elated, and reported that it was one of the great events he had ever attended. He told me how classy everyone was at the event. At that point, he had Margaret Rodriguez call me and to say that she was excited is an understatement. Margaret told me how amazed she was at attending such an incredible function. She couldn’t believe she spoke before an audience that included Derek Jeter and her other heroes, including C.C. Sabathia. It was an incredible feeling. When she finished her speech, Derek came up to her and said she was wonderful.

Jenny Steinbrenner really made it memorable for her. She told Margaret that her story was something special and that she should always share it. Margaret couldn’t stop staring at Jenny’s necklace. It was absolutely beautiful and extremely classy. Derek Jeter’s dad, Charles, had actually come up to Margaret and told her to make sure that she made this her night. He is truly a very nice man.

I have met Margaret Rodriguez quite a few times at the club and understand why she was chosen. She is truly a leader and Harold Maldonado told me that her academic achievements are superior and her participation at the club is unique. She is someone that everyone wants to follow. She told me that the club means the world to her.

I asked her when she is finished with her education what she wants to do with her life. She told me that she would love to become a developmental psychologist. I asked her why and she told me that she needs to find out why people go so many different ways in life and, with her education, she may be able to help them.

She told me that the Yankees have always been her team and C.C. Sabathia inspires her. He had been to the Boys and Girls Club quite a few times. She also told me that Derek Jeter is her favorite player because he is so handsome.

Margaret concluded by telling me that “this night will stay with me forever.”

Weekends with Ray on ESPN 1050 Deportes. Saturday and Sunday 12-2pm. Read Ray on Newsmax.

Negron: An Interview With Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays

TAMPA – Marcus Stroman is a hero in two countries and was the MVP in the World Baseball Classic. However, his dad, Earl Stroman, is a police officer in Suffolk County, NY and puts his life on the line in those mean streets every day. I know that for a fact, because my son Jon-Erik works under Earl as a police officer, as well. I’m proud to say that Marcus considers his dad his all-time hero and says he couldn’t be prouder of him.

Please enjoy my exclusive Q & A with Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ray Negron: Marcus it is a real pleasure for me to sit down with you. You are the most flamboyant and exciting player to come out of Long Island since Jim Brown. And everyone knows the legend of Jim Brown and what I can gather, I love the legend of Marcus Stroman. You are a great example for the youth coming out of New York. I’m a big fan of your father. I know how he talks about you, but tell me, who is your hero?

Marcus Stroman: My father. My family in general, but I’m a big reflection of him. A lot of him shows in where I am now in terms of development. And he has installed a lot of beliefs that I still carry in me to this day. It helped shape me as a young man. It was vital to me growing up. It was vital to me going to college and vital to me playing pro ball. I have a lot of values my pops taught me.

RN: What was it important for you to finish your education?

MS: Education and school was always the main point of emphasis for me. Education first and then everything else after that was fun. My parents always stressed and pushed academics before anything. I had to have all my work done and homework done. And my pops had me do extra work before I had to train and go out with my friends. It was a tough upbringing, but I am thankful that I did it.

RN: I worked throughout the years with the Reggie Jacksons, the George Steinbrenners, the Doc Goodens, the list goes on. You would have made a great Yankee. Why is it so many people respect you the way they do?

MS: It definitely has to do with the work ethic and how hard I work on a daily basis to be the best in this game. I don’t take anything for granted. And I stayed true to myself through it all. It’s easy to change in this life and a lot of people get in your ear to do something this way. I am able to stay myself throughout this entire process. It shows on the mound. It shows how true I am. That is why I think I can identify with my peers as a role model.

RN: Last thing. One piece of advice you would have for the youth of the city and people who are getting ready to graduate from school now?

MS: Never panic, just manage. It’s a quote I had tattooed on my wrist recently. Life is never easy, so you have to do your best to prosper in that moment  and hopefully things will work out in your favor. You only can control the things you can control. Never panic, just manage as long as you keep your faith.

RN: I would like to wish Suffolk County Police Officer Jon-Erik Negron a happy 32nd birthday. Keep protecting those streets.

Weekends with Ray on ESPN 1050 Deportes. Saturday and Sunday 12-2pm. Read Ray on Newsmax.

Negron: The Yankees Didi Gregorius Working Hard!

09/05/15 Tampa Bay Rays vs N.Y.Yankess at Yankees Stadium Bronx N.Y.New York Yankees lose 3-2 New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius #18 lines out with bases loaded to end the 8th inning photos by Sportsdaywire

TAMPA –  I was at the batting cages at Steinbrenner Field and I was pitching batting practice to my son Ricky who plays for the University of Tampa.  Usually we come to the batting cages late at night after he finished practices at his school. But this day because he was preparing for a road trip he decided to hit before his trip.

As I was throwing, I started to get distracted by the sound of another bat hitting a ball. When I looked over I realized that it was Didi Gregorius. I must have thrown probably fifty pitches to my son and then we took a break.

While sitting on a bench,

Didi came by and said hello. At that point I asked him  if he could give me a few minutes for my radio show and New York Sports Day to let the fans know how he was feeling. The first question I asked was, how does he feel with the fact he might be the face of the Yankees?

He responded by saying, “On this team we have no faces.”

“We are all one. We really play together and feel that this team can really gel into something special. I asked him, how are you feeling? It looks like you are swinging the bat really well. He said, “Great and I can’t wait to join my teammates in New York.”

I asked Didi, how do you feel about the fact that he has grown in such a way and how the fans have taken him on as a favorite? Didi responded, “Yankee fans are special. They make it a lot of fun for us and it makes us want to play that much harder.”

Didi Gregorius is truly a gentleman. He is a very classy individual, a truly intelligent young man and seems to be very conscious of what he does. It seems to me that he was very proud of representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and since showing up in the Bronx, he has shown that same pride in being a New York Yankee.

I think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this very special young man. And I believe we are in for a big treat from this very fine shortstop.

As a fan, I’m very excited to see what these next couple of seasons will look like in the Bronx.

Weekends with Ray on ESPN 1050 Deportes. Saturday and Sunday 12-2pm. Read Ray on Newsmax.

Negron: Pedro Guerrero We Pray For You

TAMPA – Former Major League star and one-time World Series MVP Pedro Guerrero suffered a stroke Tuesday while visiting family in New York City. Tonight I got down on my hands and knees and prayed for his recovery.

I will never forget 1981 and the Yankees losing to the Dodgers in the World Series and this incredible hitter did some major damage on the field. I will never forget how upset George Steinbrenner got every time Pedro drove in another run. In all he drove in five runs that day.

Steinbrenner was so upset that the next morning he ended up punching one wise guy Dodger fan in the face and broke his hand. For years I looked at Pedro as a villain because at the way he broke the Boss’ heart.  Over the course of the last few years I’ve gotten to know Pedro very well and he was nothing like the person I thought he would be.

He always seemed to be in New York because of his family in upper Manhattan and the Bronx. He was involved with a youth sports program called Grand Slam that I have helped for quite a few years. We attended many functions together and whenever in New York he would never say no when asked.

He always treated me with class and dignity as he did with everyone else. Last year we had the opening of the Little League season at the old Yankee Stadium field. There must have been 1,000 kids out there and in English and Spanish he told the kids to respect their parents and to respect baseball.

He said, “Enjoy the game like it’s going to be your last day on Earth.” After the event he came over to say goodbye and I thanked him for his time and he said, “I’ll always be there when you need me.” I asked him why are you always cool with me and he said, ” I have always had great respect for the Yankee organization and let’s not forget that you are one of Steinbrenner’s Yankees.”

We have lost a lot of good people over the course of the last year and too many to mention. I pray to God again please don’t take Pedro yet. Amen!

Weekends with Ray ESPN 1050 Deportes  Saturday-Sunday 12-2pm. Read Ray also on Newsmax. 

Negron: To Me, The “Big O” Will Always Be The Orestes Destrade

ST. PETERSBERG, FL – When people in the sports world talk or think about the “Bio O”, the first name that comes to mind is Hall of Famer basketball great, Oscar Robinson. To me, the “Big O” means Orestes Destrade.

Orestes is the Tampa Bay Rays “Diamond in the Rough.” He is the class of the Ray’s organization. Let me add, that the Rays have some incredible people that you cans make this argument for. People like Dewayne Stats, and Jake Hornstein etc. The list goes on and on. I am a board member for the Ted Williams Hall of Fame and I have gotten to know a lot of the very fine people that work for the Rays. It’s not fair to single one out over another, but I have known Orestes since he was a Yankee farm hand and I can honestly say that he was always very solid and mature as a kid. He always helps all of our young players, both English speaking and Latinos in every facet of life and yet he was a kid himself.

Today, he is still doing the same thing except he has taken it to the next level by being very supportive to people of all walks of life. There isn’t a week that goes by that this man is not seeing some kid in a wheelchair or a poor person just down on his luck. I like to think that he has learned some of these wonderful traits during his formative years with the Yankees. It is no coincidence that he was a left handed first baseman just like Lou Gehrig. Lou Gehrig was once asked, “Why do you go out of the way to help people?” And Gehrig answered, “We’re Yankees-It’s what we do.” I always think of the Big O whenever I hear that, however because he is a Ray, the saying should be, “I’m a Tampa Bay Ray, it’s what I do.”

If you want to know about the Big O and his baseball exploits, then you can Google him. I like talking about the person that I am lucky to call my friend. A person that is so proud of being a part of the Rays organization that it makes me jealous because I know how much I love the Yankees. The Big O is a person that is so tireless in his efforts to reach all people whether it be in St. Pete, Bradenton or Tampa. This spring, I don’t know how many functions I have attended and this man is always there. Orestes, I am sure, doesn’t realize that he makes me better at what I do because he is truly a great example. I am sure people from other organizations have learned a lot from the Big O just by watching what he does.

Let’s not forget that actions speak louder than words! Besides Orestes responsibilities as a FOX Sports analyst doing pre and post-game shows, the Rays were very smart in appointing the Big O “Director of Baseball and Community Outreach.” Orestes is just a good guy that works for a good organization in a good town. Kudos to the Tampa Bay Rays, they know what they have in the Big O and vice versa. I like making fun of the Big O because sometimes I see his ad campaigns with Genuine Motors, Granite City of Tampa or Appliance Legal Funding. I say next you’re going to tell me that you represent a golf resort, and he said with his shy little boy looks, “I represent Stream Song Golf.” I could only smile and say that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

Even though he only played for the Yankees for a very short time, his leadership skills left a lasting impression on George Steinbrenner who would always go out of his way to say hello to the Big O whenever he ran into him.

The Boss once said, “If it weren’t for Don Mattingly, this young man would have made a great Yankee.”

Negron: Hal And Hank Celebrate Birthday And New Season

Hank Steinbrenner celebrated his 60th birthday on the eve of the 2017 baseball season. The party was put together by Hank’s daughters Julia and Jacqueline Steinbrenner. Many of Hanks’ family and friends were there and a lot of love was circulating at Steinbrenner Field where the party was held.

It was nice to see Hank and Hal together. You could tell how close the two brothers really are. It was great to be able to share the love and happiness that all of Hanks children feel for their dad. Towards the end of the party many of us went down to the batting cage where everyone took their turns at bat.

Big time entertainment attorney Paul Schindler who represents Mark Anthony and Lionel Ritchie even brought his own designer uniform and spikes to take his cuts. As you can see in one of the pictures Hank was acting like he was a super scout.

The party itself was a complete surprise to Hank. His birthday is actually Apr. 2, so he though he and his son George Michael were going to take some family pictures. Little did he know when he walked into the dining area there were tons of family and friends waiting to scream out, “Surprise!”

In a page right out of Wrestlemania, Hank had so much fun that he even acted as if he was punching his close friend Aris in the face. And everyone believed it.

At separate times, I got a chance to talk to Hal about this Yankees team for 2017 and he was very enthusiastic about the possibilities of this young club surprising the baseball world. Hal was very happy with the positive spring camp that the Yankees completed and the excitement that he felt from this terrific young group of players.

Later in the evening, I got to speak with Hank about the same subject and he feels that not only will the Yankees surprise the fans this season but the nucleus of players throughout the entire system will challenge the American League for the next few years to come.

All in all, I think that Hank enjoyed a very happy birthday and I believe that the Steinbrenner family will continue to  be great owners for baseball in the years to come. Thank Goodness for that!