The nicest thing to happen to me during baseball's All-Star Break was that I was invited to speak at Columbia University.
The reason this meant so much to me was because as a little boy I remember watching the movie, "The Pride of the Yankees.
The film's movie's second scene shows Lou Gehrig and his life at Columbia.
The film's cinematographer did a wonderful job of taking us to different parts of the campus.
Yesterday, when I arrived at the center of the school and saw the magnificent steps headed towards the library, it placed me right in the movie.
I was literally living a dream because all of this and the film was the initial reason why I fell in love with the New York Yankees.
My life has always revolved around dreams. Everything that I have ever done, from my first day with George Steinbrenner and the Bronx Bombers to the present day still centers around living dreams. A great prophet once said, "When you stop dreaming you eventually stop living."
Just recently, Joe Favorito, an instructor at Columbia and one of the best sports publicists, asked me if I would speak to his sports business class.
To say that I was flattered is an understatement.
I speak at different colleges all the time, but to address students from all over the globe at Lou Gehrig’s alma mater was truly a dream come true.
I told the students that the only other speaking engagement coming close was when I got to speak with the great evangelist Joel Osteen at a capacity-filled stadium.
The students were great because they wanted to hear all about my life and why I loved baseball — and the Yankees — so much.
The Columbia students also wanted to know about the importance and impact that George Steinbrenner, had not only in baseball, but on sports as a whole.
I shared my personal experiences with the Boss and things that I witnessed that told me that Mr. Steinbrenner was making history. Some of the kids that lived in the states and were somewhat familiar with names like Munson and Jeter and Judge, and they wanted to know which player meant the most. I’m never shy about the fact that, to me, Munson and the players of the Boss’s initial dynasty of the 1970s are my heart and soul.
The enthusiasm that these kids demonstrated to me made it hard for me to leave the campus.
The question and answer segment was one of the best I've ever had. I had an interview to do at WPIX TV, but I was having such a good time with Joe and his students that I just made a decision that I would just have to be late.
What made it great was that these kids were so diverse in race and color and having such a great time together that it makes you feel that there truly is hope for our world.
When I finished my talk, the kids gave me such an ovation that the only thing that I could think of was that this moment was happening because, 45 years earlier, the great owner of the Yankees had a heart and gave a poor kid born in the Bronx neighborhood a chance.
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.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.