Negron: Pandemic Won’t Stop The Heart of the Yankees

Having Yankees players visit the school is like an “injection of love and inspiration” for our children and school community. Players like Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela have uplifted our communities and even for a moment in time our children feel that they belong and are appreciated by the world. Sadly, if it were not for the Yankees player visits, our community often feels abandoned, and this is why I encourage more people to get involved in our community. The players visiting our school is not just a photo opportunity, we must leverage these visits to inspire our youth and bring light to the darkness around us. I pray for the day that I could wake up in a world that is equitable for all children.
Luis Torres
Principal C. S. 55
Bronx. N. Y.

Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time. Not for the reasons that you think. Yes he hit giant homeruns and he helped the Yankees win championships. You can say the same thing for Lou Gehrig a true legend. Joe Dimaggio Thurman Munson, Reggie, Bobby Murcer Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano.

All All-Starplayers however when it came to kids especially the less privileged, they had the biggest hearts in the world. I have worked for the Yankees for parts of six decades. I have always had ‘go to guys’ that would help me out by going to schools and hospitals and youth centers and encourage and support these kids.

Alex Rodriguez was really incredible in the ten years he played for the Yankees. He did things that would shock you in a very positive way. He spiritually and financial helped me keep a little league program alive. Hundreds of kids in the Bronx would not of been able to play those summers.

The reason this is so important for me is because as a young kid George Steinbrenner literally saved my life. I always use to ask him how could I pay him back. He use to smile at me and say just help to take care of your community. That was a big deal for him. When he paid an initial visit to P. S. 55 years ago the impact is alive there to this day. A letter from the Boss hangs in the hallway for all to see. When I take players there, the first stop is always to see the letter. I promised him that I would always do the right thing in his honor. Many of my family members that I grew up with are no longer here.

Had they had a mentor or friend like George Steinbrenner I would bet that half of them would be alive today. In the last couple of years I have had Gleyber Torres who actually won the Thurman Munson award for community service and Gio Urshela who I would be shocked if he didn’t win it next year help me in tireless ways with so many kids.

When John Cirillo of the Munson Foundation talked to me last year about who should win that award, I told him that you had to split that award in half because Gleyber and Gio were equally incredible in the way they extended their heart and soul to the community. I pray and hope that the Yankees realize how wonderful these two guys in a very quiet and dignified way went out of their way to help so many. Even during this pandemic Gleyber and Gio have done videos to encourage kids to do the right things. I am always very proud of how the Yankees have always been leaders in helping those truly in need.

After we lost Mr. Steinbrenner ten years ago the organization through the leadership of team president Randy Levine and the Steinbrenner family and of course our V. P. community relations Brian Smith have taken our community relations juggernaut to the next level. Last week I met with Randy Levine and Brian Smith at Yankee Stadium and to hear how much is done even during this time would of made the Boss happy because knowing him, he would of had his sleeves rolled up and been with us helping all that needed help at this time… especially the kids.

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