There are certain stories you read about and you smile, especially if it’s about hope and believing in one's self. I’ve often told my kids about a New York City kid who was at the wrong place at the right time.
“Yankee Miracles” and a boy that became a man in Yankee Stadium…not just because George Steinbrenner believed in him, but because he believed in himself.
BYB: Your story about becoming a bat boy at Yankee stadium has become popular and a total life lesson for people who want an opportunity to push themselves in life. Did you ever think that day in your life would be spoken about as so touching and
Ray Negron: I still don’t think about that. I just know that I was blessed that day and it has blessed me my whole life.
BYB: What inspired you to tell your story?
(In Photo: Reggie Jackson, Ray Negron-center, George Steinbrenner)
Ray Negron: The time was now. The Boss is gone. It was something that I wanted to do while he was alive, but after he passed, it was like “let’s finish this up and get this story out there.” People were always asking me to tell it. And I was able to tell it the way I wanted to.
BYB: I know a portion of the books proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club and to Cancer Research. Can you tell me a little bit about how you became involved with those organizations?
Ray Negron: Well, next to my first day with the Yankees, it would be Reggie Jackson’s three home runs, because I had such a big part in it. Reggie listened to me and took the curtain call.
BYB: Who was your baseball idol growing up, Yankee or non-Yankee?
Mickey Mantle first and then Bobby Murcer. Mickey Mantle because he was Mickey Mantle. Everybody knows about Mickey. Then, when he retired, Bobby Murcer was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle. And once I got to know him, I got to love him. He was such a great person.
BYB: If you could sit down and converse with any ballplayer before your time, who would it be?
Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. I couldn’t pick one, so it would have to be Ruth and Gehrig.
BYB: Who is the most fun guy in the clubhouse, right now?
Nick Swisher. He’s great with the fans, for the fans. The people love that he is right there with them. The fact that he is always smiling is great. The fact that he shows a human side, a human element, I like what he does. In that respect, you know what? It’s good for baseball.
BYB: You grew up in New York City, so you know what it is like for kids growing up here. What would your message to them be?
Ray Negron: No matter where you are going, be proud of your community. Be proud of the people you are with. And be proud of the whole element of family. Family is very important.
BYB: Last question. Do you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think of it?
Ray Negron: I recently started getting more into it. It’s cool. You guys are just as good as the regular beat writers.
What a nice thing to say Ray. Thank you so much for speaking with us at BYB. Again, Ray Negron’s new book “Yankee Miracles” tells the story of his life with the Yankees and his friendship with The Boss. A fantastic read.
It’s my first BYB interview ladies and gentlemen…how’d I do?
--Erica Morales, BYB Writer
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