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Ray Negron

Negron: On Sinatra’s Birthday, Yanks Do It The Boss’s Way

Ray Negron

A ball hasn’t been thrown or batted and yet, this week has been a fun and spectacular and historic and exciting time in New York.

Frank Sinatra, one of the greatest entertainers of all time would’ve been 104 years old today. There was a birthday party for him at “Patsy’s.” Everybody that is somebody was there. The list is too big to mention and I don’t want to insult anyone by leaving them out.

The executive Chef and Co owner, Sal Scognamillo, continues the tradition of celebrating ol’ blue eyes birthday. It’s a tradition that was started by the original owner Patsy, maintained by Joe, Sal’s Daddy, and the only person that was allowed to handle Mr. Sinatra’s food, and now Sal. I’m sure that little Joe, Sal’s son, who is now second in charge will also maintain the tradition of keeping the Sinatra name alive at Patsy’s

In the sports world, the big news was that the fabled New York Yankees signed the biggest fish in the free agent market. Taking a page from the great George M. Steinbrenner, the Yanks pulled right handed pitcher Gerrit Cole from the pool.

It felt like the 1970s when the Boss would make the fans happy by signing a Catfish Hunter or Reggie Jackson. Thanks to the Steinbrenner family, the back page belongs to the Yankees again. It was like going to Patsy’s for a main entree of Gerrit Cole and for desert, we got Brett Gardner as the popular outfielder and longest tenured Yankee was re-signed.

Gardner has been a great Yankee through and through. Everyone knows how terrific he has been on the field and personally he has helped me with several sick people including a young lady that was desperately seeking a heart. His visit and urgency for her well being, helped deliver a heart over ten years ago. Last month, that young lady got married and is living a happy life. I have to commend the Yanks because I have to feel that this is a reward to a player who has done great things both on and off the field.

I must also add that the Steinbrenner Family continued the tradition of having the “season of giving” to the poor kids of the area. At the annual event, which was held at Ruth Eckert Hall, in Clearwater, Florida, the family had the very exciting and animated former Yankee Nick Swisher read ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Naturally Nick was Nick and did his usually spectacular job. Christmas was Mr. Steinbrenner’s favorite time of year and he loved this very special event. I remember him having Billy Martin, Hulk Hogan and others reading ‘Twas the night before Christmas.”

We have two more weeks before Christmas and we will do our best to make sure that every kid that can’t afford to have Christmas, has a Christmas. Anyone who is a friend of mine has already been informed that he must purchase a gift and deliver it to our schools in the Bronx.

A special thank you to John Theisen, who is one of the greatest philanthropists ever and who never says no to any kid and just has a wonderful heart. I’m blessed to know such a man. That being said, I must also acknowledge my brother from another mom, Alfred Zaccagnino from the Samarian Group, who has helped me with the Boys and Girls club for the last 12 years. Alfred actually brought toys for some of my nieces and nephews that I didn’t even know were in the Bronx. It’s a story for another day. The bottom line is that life is so short our time is limited and we must try to do the right things.

George Steinbrenner was the toughest and most powerful man that I have ever known yet he was probably the sweetest man that I have ever known when it came to helping kids and people in need. The most important thing that I learned from this great man was people don’t need labels in order for you to help them. Thank you to the New York Yankees and the Steinbrenner Family for maintaining the tradition of helping all people.

I wish you guys and everyone a very merry Christmas.


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