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A Thanks From the Railriders and Fans: A Tribute to Ray Negron

Image: A Thanks From the Railriders and Fans: A Tribute to Ray Negron
Photo of Hank's Yanks Golf Classic web site. (hanksyanksgolf.com)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 12:59 PM

In the immortal words of Carly Simon, “Nobody does it better.”

In an event that crystallized what family baseball is all about both on the field and through the facilitation of an organization, Ray Negron — special advisor to the late George M. Steinbrenner — recently had the opportunity to experience a night filled with love and baseball in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game.

This night was special because instead of a player being acknowledged, a true baseball visionary and one of the most important bridge builders between the community and the New York Yankees received an incredible tribute.

Negron's community outreach work and charitable contributions have won him countless prestigious awards over the years. He was inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame Museum and the International Latino Sports Hall of Fame, and he received an award from the Department of Homeland Security for his achievements and accomplishments as an author and for being a positive role model in the community.

Negron, along with Sally Cook, wrote the book "Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers." He has also authored four best-selling children's books: "The Boy of Steel," which is in display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, as well as "The Greatest Story Never Told", "One Last Time: Good-bye to Yankee Stadium," and "CC Claus." He also produced the animated film, "Henry & Me."

During the week, Negron said he received countless calls from RailRider owners Dave Abrams, Bob Mills, and Grant Cagle to be sure Negron would be in Scranton. Negron wasn’t exactly sure what the brass had in mind, but the owners really wanted this night to be an important one — not just about baseball, but the power an organization like Scranton has in transforming lives.

Negron was visibly humbled by the events of the night.

These are challenging times for him because his father is ill, and his mother is suffering from Alzheimer’s. For Negron, a father of four children — his oldest serving as a police officer during these radical and troubling times — this night could not have come at a better time. This crowd of loving strangers embraced his cultural commitment to the children, to humanity, and the sport he loves — baseball.

“The greatest excitement was reading a passage from my book 'Yankee Miracles,' to the season ticket holders. It amazed me that they actually won a contest to sit with me. This was so riveting, because I don’t consider myself special," Negron said as the evening unfolded.

"My mom’s care has put such a burden on me personally, that I can only imagine what people go through when their parents are sick," he said. "I love that people care. My dear friend Hank Steinbrenner actually offered to financially care for my mother, but I could not accept that gift of love. So what we thought we could do instead is a golf outing fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research and the Kenneth A. Smaltz, Sr., Foundation for the cure and care of Alzheimer’s patients through the Hanks Yanks Foundation."

"In the bigger picture, I thought this was a way to help my mom, but perhaps, just as important, to help others in the process," he continued. "This is a tremendous opportunity because this disease is a growing epidemic all over the world. Yankee Manager Joe Girardi recently lost his father to the disease as well. Technically, The Boss had this disease so Hank knows exactly what I am going through. The golf outing will also help a number of other causes such as St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, a hospital that was very dear to the Boss along with Hanks Yanks, the youth baseball team for underprivileged children. It has been five years since we lost the Boss and thinking of the possible loss of my mother, it has made this night one I will never forget. These fans helped me to understand that the beauty of the wonderful game of baseball awakened me to love baseball so much because of those who live the game like me. I got to enjoy the Boy Scouts, seeing all these smiles, talking with an incredible office staff with them telling me why they love working for the RailRider’s so much. For one tiny moment, I now know what Reggie must have felt when he knocked out three for the Bombers on that October night in 1977.”

Negron is big on reflecting as he fulfilled a lifelong dream of being part of the greatest game. If time was frozen, fans will remember this night as a night of giving back. It filters down to our greatest audience, our children.

“I love the energy of the staff and fans," Negron said. "It says a great deal about the owner’s when employees rave about the job they love doing. I spoke on radio, TV, and talked about my life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers. Finally, I got to watch my animated film 'Henry & Me' from the outfield with the fans I love so much."

"The reason why I made this film was to bring young fans together with their parents by making the film magical, empowering, and understood that giving back shapes lives, transforms people and makes our world a better place for everyone black, white, Spanish, and all. This was a night filled with love for the game and the spirit of such amazing men who helped me to become who I am today, Munson, Jackson, Murcer, Martin, and the endless list of Yankees all under the umbrella of the greatest owner in sports history, The Boss, George M. Steinbrenner!”

Please visit HanksYanksGolf.com for more information.

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Special advisor to the late George M. Steinbrenner, Ray Negron recently had the opportunity to experience a night filled with love and baseball in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders game.
ray negron, george steinbrenner, thanking, railriders, fans
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2015-59-27
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 12:59 PM
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