The Quality Of Courage

By Ray Negron

In the world of baseball I have always found that courage is when you love the game so much you never let anything interfere with your responsibilities, even though you may have deep personal issues. In my 44 years in the game, I have seen this happen on many occasions and each time I think that those people only get stronger.

Just when I think I have seen it all I get a visit during spring training from the general manager of the Staten Island Yankees, Jane Rogers. Jane talks to me about different charity events that she is planning and asking me how I can contribute and also how she can help make the Staten Island community better.

We discuss different youth programs and what works and what doesn’t work. Jane spends time with some of the Yankees that she nurtured when they played for her in Staten Island.

Among those players that show her a lot of love are Brett Gardner and Gary Sanchez. As Sanchez walks back to the clubhouse, I ask him what does Jane mean to you. He says in Spanish, you don’t understand, she was a second mother to me and all the players when we were there.

I thought that was a very sweet gesture on Gary’s part because I find that most of the time a lot of players forget some of the wonderful things that a lot of people do for them. As Jane was about to leave Aaron Judge came over to pay respect to a true pioneer in baseball and one of the only woman to of been a general manager in professional baseball.

All women who dream of working In sports owe Jane Rogers a dept of gratitude.  In her very quiet dignified way she has been one of the best general managers in Minor league baseball for almost twenty years.

As Jane and her husband Mike were leaving the field I ask her if there was anything else that I could do for her. At that moment Jane shared with me that she didn’t want to tell me something that she was dealing with. I asked her why and she laughed and said because sometimes you can be a big baby.

At that moment I told her to shut up and tell me what’s up. With her beautiful big blue eyes ,she stared at me and quietly told me that she had breast cancer. What got me was her strength in delivering the message. I asked her if she was scared and she said yes. I thanked her for her honesty.

I asked her what are you gonna do with this and she said she was going to be a positive example for other woman that have to go through this. I told her that there are no accidents in these things and God does not put you in situations that you can’t handle as long as you have the courage to deal with it.

When Jane first started in Staten Island, she got a visit from George Steinbrenner. The Boss who was not always big at hiring woman in what was considered men jobs in baseball saw something in Jane that told him that this was the right person to take care of his young players. Jane took the Boss’s words to heart and never ever let him down.

Through the years I would pass messages back and forth to the Boss and I know this incentive always made Jane go to the next level as a great general manager in professional baseball.

Next week Jane will have breast cancer surgery and me and the people that love this wonderful lady will pray for her so that she can get better and get back to work as the leader that she has always been.

I will cry for Jane because I am a big baby, but more importantly because of how much I love her. If you knew Jane you would love her too.

Ray Negron is also covered on Newsmax and can be heard on the Number One show on ESPN Deportes “The World of the Big Leagues.”

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