Longtime special adviser Ray Negron thanking Boss in a novel wayAugust 24, 2008
by Mark Lelinwalla
New York and all of baseball gave George Steinbrenner a heartfelt salute at the 79th All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. Now, his longtime special adviser Ray Negron is thanking The Boss in a different way.
Negron has dedicated his second children's book, "The Greatest Story Never Told: The Babe and Jackie," to Steinbrenner, thanking him for changing his life.
"To George M. Steinbrenner and the Steinbrenner family, whose loyalty to the less fortunate of the world has allowed me to do what I do," writes Negron. "Boss, you made me somebody. Thank you."
"When you read the book you'll understand what he means, what he means to kids, what he's done for the underprivileged," Negron said. "This is the only way I can honor him. I will continue to honor him."
In his 35 years of working for Steinbrenner, including starting as a bat boy for the Yankees in 1973, Negron credits The Boss for helping him shed his insecurities about being a minority employed by the team in an important position.
"The people that we call the haters, would in essence take shots at me and Steinbrenner would always tell me, 'It's just jealousy, fight it,'" Negron said. "He would jump my butt if he ever heard me talking down about myself. "
Steinbrenner's advice inspired Negron to pen his first children's book, "The Boy of Steel: A Baseball Dream Come True," in 2006.
The book, a story based on based on events as told by Ruth's grandaughter, made The New York Times bestseller list and raised $300,000 for charities, including ones for cancer research. It was Negron's tome that inspired Steinbrenner to write something of his own.
"He wrote me a letter saying that the book rated on top with his world championships," Negron said. "I keep that letter in my wallet. It's my most prized possession."
Similarly, Negron hopes to get the approval of his Boss this time around.
In addition to drawing inspiration from Steinbrenner, Negron would collect his thoughts in a tiny crevice of Yankee Stadium, located behind right field.
It's the same spot where Lou Gehrig would seek refuge while dealing with his ALS disease. Negron says he has taken "hundreds of kids" to the rather concealed location so that they too can "draw inspiration."
In late July, Negron spoke at Columbia University about the book.
"From a Puerto Rican caught doing graffiti to speaking at Columbia University," Negron said. "The prestige."
Proceeds from "The Greatest Story Never Told" will be donated to charities, including the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and the Dewayne Murcer Foundation, named after the late brother of Bobby Murcer, who himself died of cancer on July 12.