Tags: jurist | mets | robinson | steinbrenner

Cano's Generosity Makes Kids' Lives Better

robinson cano and david jurist

Robinson Cano and David Jurist (Photo Credit Ray Negron)

Friday, 07 December 2018 03:27 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I was always a big fan of Elvis Presley.

I'm a fan for many reasons including the fact that Elvis was a man who reached out to help many. A man that felt that it was important to be there for the less privileged, and that included the sick and needy.

I once saw that the Jaycees, which honored America’s 10 best young men each year for their humanitarian efforts, actually gave Elvis an award for his work with many charities, including St Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

During his acceptance speech, The King of Rock 'n' Roll said, "When I was a kid I read comic books and I was the hero in the comic book."

Presley also emphasized that it was important to never give up on your dreams.

In past years I had the habit of bringing the young prospects in the Yankee organization up to George Steinbrenner’s office. This was a big deal for these kids. I knew that the Boss got a kick out of seeing the look on their faces. I did this with Derek Jeter and many of the young players. The one rookie that I got the biggest kick out of doing this with was Robinson Cano, when I took him to meet the Boss.

For whatever the reason Mr. Steinbrenner also got a big kick out of Robinson. One of the things that Robinson said to the Boss was that when he was a kid he always dreamed of becoming a major leaguer and someday being the hero in a World Series. The Boss looked Robinson in the eyes and said, "There is something very special about you."

At that moment he did something that I had never seen him do, he asked Robinson if he would do a favor and sign a picture for him. Robinson looked at me in amazement and I have to say, I was pretty surprised myself. At that moment Mr. Steinbrenner asked his secretary to find a Robinson Cano picture.

Mr. Steinbrenner asked Robinson to keep chasing his dreams.

A few months later I brought Robinson to his first hospital visit to Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey. A man named Dave Jurist, who was involved with the hospital, told me about a very sick little boy.

I told the story to the Boss because of his involvement with so many hospitals and children’s causes and he told me to take some of the players there to cheer up the kids. I think I took five players that day, including Robinson Cano.

During our visit while walking from room to room we noticed that we had lost one of our players, Robinson Cano. When we finally tracked him down he was in one of the rooms with a little boy that had been in the hospital for quite some time.

All I could do was just stare at this beautiful scene with two very innocent young souls. At that moment, I thought of the Boss because this would not have happened without the great heart of his that most people didn’t know about and it also made me think of Elvis Presley and his dreams.

At this same moment, I came up with an idea of doing a children’s book with Robinson Cano as the hero. I went back to Mr. Steinbrenner and told him of my idea and he told me to "go for it."

I am proud to say that the book, "The Boy of Steel" became a national best seller. An animated film was made based on the book. I must also add that Robinson Cano has made so many visits to the hospital and cheered up so many lives that the hospital named a children’s therapy wing after him!

One of the saddest days for the hospital was when Robinson Cano signed with the Seattle Mariners. A celebrity that was always there for the kids was no longer around town. It was hard for many of the kids because they would miss Robinson’s big smile and great stories.

This week Robinson was traded to the New York Mets and one of the first things he did was to contact me about visiting the hospital. Yesterday, I met him and David Jurist there and I could tell by the look in his face how proud he was that the "Robinson Cano wing" was still there.

David told Robinson that because of all the great work and all the young lives he had touched, the Cano wing would always be there.

At that moment Cano turned to me and said, "This doesn’t happen without George Steinbrenner. I am so very happy to be a New York Met but I will never forget what George Steinbrenner meant in my life."

A special thank you from Hackensack University Medical Center to the New York Mets for donating toys for the kids.

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.

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In past years I had the habit of bringing the young prospects in the Yankee organization up to George Steinbrenner’s office. This was a big deal. The one rookie that I got the biggest kick out of doing this with was Robinson Cano.
jurist, mets, robinson, steinbrenner
Friday, 07 December 2018 03:27 PM
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