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Fortunate Son
2006-09-06 09:44
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Ray Negron knows that he is blessed. In the spring of 1973, when Negron was 16, none other than George Steinbrenner, the Boss himself, caught the teenager tagging an "NY" logo on the outside of Yankee Stadium. Instead of pressing charges, the Boss gave Negron a job as a batboy. Negron has been around the game ever since. He was drafted in the second round by the Pirates in 1975 but couldn't hit enough to play pro ball so he returned to the Yankees where Billy Martin and Steinbrenner kept him busy. When Reggie Jackson arrived in '77, Negron became the superduperstar's personal assistant away from the park. "Reggie used to say that if he was the King of New York, then I was the Prince of the City," says Negron.

Negron was the one person who was close with Reggie, Billy and George during the most volatile days of the Bronx Zoo, making him a unique figure in Yankee history. After Jackson left New York, Negron tried his hand at acting, and later became a player agent, working first in Japan and then back in the States. He was the only minority GM in the short-lived Senior League in the late eighties. But he's perhaps most recognizable as an advisor to both Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden, the man who helped broker deals to bring the erstwhile Metropolitans to the Bronx in the mid-nineties. Negron's biological father was a physically abusive alcoholic, and his two younger brothers are addicts as well. Subsequently, he has specialized in drug counseling. Negron worked for John Hart in Cleveland and then Texas as a player liason--he was especially close with Roberto Alomar and Juan Gonzalez--before returning to the Yankees last year.

Negron appreciates how much his chance meeting with the Boss has helped shape his life. He is committed to sharing his success story, speaking often at local schools and hospitals. Last week, Negron released the first in a series of children's books he plans to write on topics like racism and drug abuse. The first title, The Boy of Steel, is a story about a young cancer patient who enjoys a magical experience at Yankee Stadium. Featuring large color illustrations, it is an ideal gift for any kid who loves the Yankees. Keep it in mind on your holiday shopping list this year. It's for a good cause, as all the profits will be distributed to various charities.

Comments
2006-09-06 10:44:37
1.   Sliced Bread
Sweet lookin' book, and beautiful illustrations.

I've heard a bit about it, but now that I've checked it out, it's definitely on the list. My sons will love it, especially if they know it will help kids.

Thanks for all the background on Ray Negron. I knew a bit about him, but that's quite a Yankees life he's had. Do you know any more about him getting "busted" by George? I'd love to hear how that went down, and how he talked his way into that "bat boy" dream job.

Way to go, Ray Negron!

2006-09-06 10:58:33
2.   Alex Belth
Actually, I've been hanging around Ray a bunch this summer getting the details of his story. I'm writing a longer piece on him that will appear in some shape or form this fall/off-season. Very interesting dude.
2006-09-06 11:04:49
3.   Sliced Bread
Looking forward to reading more about him.
2006-09-06 11:34:06
4.   singledd
Someone thought they saw Giambi in his first AB sporting a mustache yet clean shaven in his next AB. Hey Dude... just say no...

"Jason Giambi was planning to shave off his mustache Monday night anyway, but when he saw the clippers during the game he figured there was no point in waiting any longer. So after striking out in the first inning, Giambi went back into the clubhouse and emerged a little later sans 'stache, hoping a change in facial hair might help spark a change in his results at the plate."

2006-09-06 11:58:47
5.   singledd
VERY FUNNY STUFF from Yankees Chick

Pa-va-no [Puh-VAH-no]
Noun.

... A chronically injured baseball player: Carl Pavano has been a pavano for most of his time with the Yankees.
... A money pit requiring millions of dollars and offering little return: Wow, this old fixer-upper house we bought sure is turning out to be a pavano- we've been working on it for years and it's still not habitable!
... An unwanted long-term commitment: I had to sign a lease for my apartment; it's a total pavano since I can't move for a year even though I found a cheaper, more attractive place to live.

Verb

... To injure oneself in a strange, unconventional manner: I pavanoed when I tripped over a pile of cotton balls, fell into a large trampoline, and catapulted onto the roof of my dog's house; I broke my left leg, 3 ribs and my right pinky finger.
... To disappoint people; not live up to expectations: I did not want to pavano, so I showed up to work early on my first day and worked late on a special assignment.
... To avoid manual labor at any cost, including inflicting injuries on oneself to disqualify one from performing said labor: Jimmy was sick of his tough job as a carpenter, so he pavanoed by intentionally contracting avian flu.

2006-09-06 12:22:33
6.   kylepetterson
2 years ago I pavanoed my left knee in one of those "bounce tents" and wound up breaking my tibial plateau, snapping my acl, and causing marrow edema in my femur.
2006-09-06 12:51:30
7.   Chyll Will
6 When I was younger, my Mom would feed me a spoonful of black pepper for talking like that. If that didn't work, she'd threaten to use red pepper. That worked.
2006-09-06 12:57:50
8.   kylepetterson
7 except for the one time when she used blue pepper. I was in the hospital for 3 months. I will never talk back again.
2006-09-06 12:59:43
9.   Chyll Will
8 We trusted her word to never let it get that far...
2006-09-06 13:47:38
10.   ChrisS
Ray Negron certainly has been blessed. Interesting story. I wish all of us were that fortunate to do something we loved. I tried years ago by dropping my resume off at Fenway when I lived there ... to no avail, the third base job was taken by some guy named Boggs they said.

Speaking of blessed, how is one Phil Hughes doing?

His last 7 starts, since a minor blow-up in his third start at AA, have produced this line:

4-0, 0.79 ERA, 34 IP, 0.56 WhIP, 6.86 K:BB, and a 12.71 K/9IP

In that stretch, he's never given up more than 2 hits or 2 walks and only 3 ERs.

More, please.

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