A very interesting story of the major baseball personalities that dominated the headlines during the years of George Steinbrenner’s ownership of the New York Yankees was written by Ray Negron and Sally Cook. Negron, now a community adviser with the organization, began as the team’s batboy in 1973 through highly unexpected circumstances.
Negron offers the reader that strange story and many others that explain many of the events of his life and how those events affected his growth into adulthood. Unlike other volumes of Steinbrenner’s Yankees that were written by sportswriters or historians, this book is a first-person account written by someone who heard the words quoted and witnessed the events described. Negron includes himself in the events in which he was a part, but he does not narcissistically put himself front and center in place of those who were at the center of the story.
The gamut of emotions of the personalities in the story range widely from the heartbreak after the plane crash and death of catcher Thurman Munson and the illness and death of Bobby Murcer to the humor displayed between the players on the Yankees. Thus, the reader is able to experience these same emotions as the pages turn.
Negron, the author of several best-selling children’s books, has written his first adult volume. The similarities between his newest book and earlier children’s stories outweigh the necessary differences in vocabulary. All focus on the New York Yankees under the ownership of Steinbrenner and life in the inner city for youngsters like Negron in the 1970’s and many children in the 21st century. All are intended to be uplifting, to give the readers hope and to encourage the best in all who read his words, whether adult or child.
Negron pictures the book’s characters in a positive light, but that only reflects his mindset. He sees them as human beings, decent at heart but neither saints nor devils. The stories told in the book allows the reader to better understand these Yankees as people rather than as automatons whose only importance is the statistics they compile during their playing careers. Anyone personally familiar with the personalities in the book or the events described will recognize that the affection of the author does not negate the truthfulness of the story.
Negron’s life experiences with George Steinbrenner and the stories he has learned of many others whose lives have been touched in a very positive manner by the late owner of the Yankees are the reason why Negron’s volume is truly a tribute to the life of George M. Steinbrenner.
You don’t have to be a Yankees rooter or a baseball fan to enjoy or be moved by this volume as it is a human story, but being such a fan will certainly increase your involvement.
The publishing company has already scheduled many book signings for the author. Negron insisted that the first be held in the borough that is the home of the Yankees. Thus, Negron will begin his book tour at Barnes & Noble in Co-Op City on Wednesday, September 5.
Another important project that Negron has devoted his energies and talents to in the past few years will come to fruition at Christmas. Negron has produced an animated film “Henry & Me” in which many stars of the entertainment and sports worlds provided the voices of the characters of the film. The film shows the manner in which Yankees of the past and present provide hope to a young boy who is seriously ill.
Title: Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers Publisher: Liveright/Norton
ISBN: 978-0-87140-461-9 Pages: 288 Price: $25.95