If you know me, and my love for the New York Yankees, then you know that my all time favorite manager was Billy Martin. Another favorite would be Joe Girardi.
Now I really like Aaron Boone.
Common to all three of them — their love of children.
Billy Martin was by far the toughest manager in my 46 years og being around the Yankees.
Billy could be loved by his players but I also witnessed players who feared him.
Billy just didn’t take any c**p from anyone, with the possible exception of the owner George Steinbrenner, or any kid approaching him in or around the ballpark.
I witnessed Billy giving neighborhood Bronx kids everything from money to all sorts of baseball equipment. I can’t tell you how many little league teams this man had sponsored.
Martin loved bringing kids on the field and he would give the kid the best day of their life.
The only problem for me was that I would end up baby-sitting that child afterwards.
Years later, Joe Girardi would become the manager. In that capacity Joe was absolutely terrific, especially when I brought children on to the field.
Generally, he knew that most of the kids, most of the time, had some form of disease or disability. He was very sweet in the way that he would interact with those youngsters.
When Girardi was let go, the first thing in my mind was the I hoped that the next manager would be as kind with the kids as Billy and Joe were.
Aaron Boone has been a dream come true for me. When he talks about the Bronx kids, he gets a nice sparkle in his eyes. He becomes very animated.
Just like Billy, he can’t do enough to help kids.
The fact that I am the Yankee community consultant and was born and lived in the Bronx, I get a thrill in the way the organization tries to help different Bronx causes.
I get an even bigger thrill in seeing the players and manager try to make children feel special.
The one message that Aaron Boone wanted me to send to the kids was the fact that he is dedicating the 2020 season to all the kids of the Bronx.
To me, that is a complete class act by a classy man who just wants what’s best for all 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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