Some of the biggest names in New York sports came out for a great cause on Monday afternoon in support of the Hank’s Yanks Baseball Foundation.
The foundation which originated in 2010 provides talented young ball players between the ages on 12 and 18 the opportunity to join a summer travel team like no other.
“Most of this athletes come from rough neighborhoods where it is easy to get involved with the wrong crowd,” said Yankees Special Advisor and Hank’s Yanks co-founder Ray Negron, who singled out Freeport on Long Island, a town devastated by youth gang violence. “So to get them off the street and involved with the game of baseball is a great thing.”
The organization provides the team with great experiences such as the chance to meet Yankee legends, get instruction from former and sometimes current players and coaches, as well as travel to various tournaments. Their goal is to create young men that will do all the right things on the field, but most importantly all the right things off the field as well providing valuable mentorship.
Members of Hank’s Yanks of various ages were present at the golf outing which celebrated the 1977 World Champion team, the first under the ownership of the Steinbrenner family.
Hank Steinbrenner, founder of Hank’s Yanks, was extremely grateful for the turn out and support that his foundation received Monday afternoon. “I’m really grateful for the support of everyone that has come out and for the job that Ray [Negron] has done all year round,” a happy Steinbrenner said.
With more support coming in every year, not only in this specific foundation, but in other Yankee charity based organizations such as the Yankee Foundation Hal spoke on the expanding assistance being provided by the Yankees. “It’s not about PR, it’s about what’s right. We do it because it’s important and that’s the bottom line.”
A response that truly emulates the giving heart of his father George, who as Negron pointed out once said, “If more than two people find out about [his charity endeavors] then it’s being done for the wrong reason.”
The links were filled with former New York athletes such as Roy White, Mickey Rivers, Jeff Nelson, Cecil Fielder, Pat Kelly, Jim Leyritz, former Knick point guard John Starks, and award recipients of the afternoon Reggie Jackson and current Yankee, Tyler Clippard.
Roy White, two-time World Champion (77,78) and Yankee outfielder for 15 years, is a familiar face at Yankee events such as the golf outing.
“It’s always a pleasure to come out and support Hank’s Yanks,” White said. “I think it’s great for these kids to have the opportunity to play game of baseball.” White, who hails from Compton, CA understands the struggle some of these kids go through and the importance of baseball.
“[Baseball] was great for me growing up in Compton, where there was a lot of gangs. Some of my friends went down that bad road that are not alive right now and baseball kept me out of that mix, so it was great for me,” White said.
After the celebrities hit the links, Negron took the podium for a few words recognizing some of the vital people that help make Hank’s Yanks possible including Steinbrenner and Tony and Jesse Melendez, assistant founders of the first ever Hank’s Yanks team based out of the Bronx.
After much deserved praise was given, more recognition was to come as a few awards were handed out to some deserving men for their efforts throughout the community. Among the recipients were Reggie Jackson, Tyler Clippard and long time New York sportswriter Wallace Matthews.
After a wonderful award ceremony that covered some fantastic stories and even a few pictures from the 1977 season courtesy of Negron, came the silent auction. The auction contained an abundance of Yankee memorabilia that included signed balls and jerseys from players such as Aroldis Chapman, Tino Martinez, Mike Mussina, Didi Gregorious, Alex Rodriguez and plenty more. In addition to the memorabilia were fantastic vacation getaway experiences such as trips to St. Thomas, Spring Training in Tampa, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and Belize among others.
The event was extremely successful as everyone seemed to leave the event with a smile on their face and some great memories.
Hank’s Yanks is looking forward to yet another successful season in winning both on and off of the field.