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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"YANKEE MIRACLES" EXCLUSIVE: RAY NEGRON

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.
He was caught spray painting Yankee Stadium by none other than George Steinbrenner. What happened after that was an opportunity of a lifetime…and totally life changing experience for the better.  To say that Ray Negron’s story is unique and touching would be a complete understatement. It just goes to show, if you are luckily enough to see an opportunity to succeed, you grab on and never let go.  Don’t believe me? Ask Ray Negron, the author of the new book “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.

I recently met Ray and introduced my kids to him at a book signing and I’m thrilled to bring our BYB interview with him to you right now. Enjoy this…I did.

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: From my first book The Boy of Steel: A Baseball Dream Come True. I go to hospitals and visit the kids all the time. When you’re a parent and you see kids like this... it’s your own way of doing something.

BYB: What is your favorite Yankee moment?

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?
Ray Negron: 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?
Ray Negron: It would have to 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?

Ray Negron: It would have to be 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.
Portions of the proceeds from this book go to The Boys and Girls Club and Cancer Research. Programs like The Boys and Girls Club are important, especially to inner city kids. It gives them the opportunity to do something better for themselves and stay off the street. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. I encourage everyone to pick up your copy of “Yankee Miracles” for a great read and wonderful insight on some amazing Yankee legends.

It’s my first BYB interview ladies and gentlemen…how’d I do?


--Erica Morales, BYB Writer
Twitter: @e_morales1804



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1 comment:

  1. Loved this interview! It is always inspiring too hear of someone who was able too make positive changes and follow their dreams. Hats off too Ray Negron!

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