Negron: Bat Boy Tales

HANKS YANKS kid Goes To Big League’s: The highlights of the week included the California Angels bringing up left handed pitcher  Williams Jerez. The significance in this player is the fact that as a teenager Jerez was a member of Hank Steinbrenner’s Hanks Yanks youth baseball team. Jerez was the first of 15 players drafted or signed from the team. He was a 2nd round draft pick by the Boston RedSox who would later trade him to the Angels for second baseman Ian Kinsler at the trade deadline this year.

Jerez became a high school star at Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus. He played under the tutelage of coaches Melvin Martinez, Steve Martinez, Edwin Martinez, Eddie Espada. This is the same school that Dellin Betances and B.J. Lopez graduated from. Even though Jerez is a pitcher, in New York he was famous for a spectacular play at Yankee Stadiums Death Valley.

Hanks Yanks left fielder Moe Vinas lost the final out in the sun with the bases loaded in a 2-1 ball game. Jerez ran from centerfield to left field to catch the final out and Hanks Yanks would win the first annual BOSS CUP over Mariano Rivera’s summer youth team. Even though Jerez is with the Angels, Hank Steinbrenner couldn’t be more proud and was especially happy that another kid from these tough New York streets was helped by Hanks Yanks and his wonderful coaches at Grant Street Campus.

RICHARD GERE MISSES YANKEES 
Richard Gere the wonderful star of An Officer and a Gentleman and Pretty Woman and so many other great movies really misses not attending any Yankee games this year. Between getting married and his wife Alejandra expecting theirr first child and of course doing another film project in London is reason enough to be so far from the Bronx.

Richard is one of my oldest friends that I met while I was lucky enough to work with him in the filming of The Cotton Club.

Richard is such a big Yankee fan that 10 years ago he and his best friend Russell Hernandez attended fantasy camp. I must add that he actually turned one of the greatest double plays ever , assisted by Bucky Dent and Chris Chambliss. Richard does promise that if the Yankees get to the World Series, he will sneak away from filming to attend a game.

THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES!
Tonight I was sitting writing my stories for my columns when I noticed that my all time favorite movie , The Pride of the Yankees was on. No matter how many times I watch this film, I can’t help to cry and at the same time understand why I love the Yankees so much. This film is so pure and beautiful and Irving Berlin who wrote the song Always gave us such a masterpiece in this ballad that in real life it was really Lou Gehrig’s favorite song.

Gary Cooper is so great that you want to believe that he is Lou Gehrig. George Steinbrenner also loved this film very much and we had actually talked about showing it to all the new minor league players every spring, however due to distractions in the 80s we never got to do it. I was lucky enough to of spent some time with Mrs Gehrig in the 70s and she had some great stories about the film and spoke of it fondly. After watching this film, if it doesn’t make you want to be a better person then I don’t know what to tell you.

FATHER and SON of the WEEK!
During the week I like to find the father and son that are sharing a great time together enjoying, as Babe Ruth called it ‘ The greatest game in the World. Baseball!
They are the Mitchell Boys
James and James Jr.

Ray Negron has 40 Years of history with the NY Yankees which is chronicled in his book Yankee Miracles. He is a contributing columnist with The Bronx Chronicle, NYsportsday.com and Newsmax. Listen to Ray weekends on ESPN 1050 AM Impact Deportes.

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