Ray Negron’s Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers, arrives just in time for Major League Baseball’s post season. A former batboy who now serves as a community advisor for the New York Yankees, Negron narrates the story of how an unlikely set of circumstances led to his initial unfavorable meeting of George Steinbrenner (Owner of the New York Yankees) and his efforts to ingratiate himself with the Boss. How these two individuals are able to forge a life-long lasting friendship is miraculous in and of itself, considering one was a multimillionaire businessman, and the other a teenager growing up on the hard streets of Brooklyn enduring poverty and crime. Yet the miracles written about in this book are in no short supply after Negron’s first chapter.
Soon the reader finds themself on board of Negron’s journey of self discovery. Along the way we experience the ups and downs of an aspiring baseball player as the author shares his experience of trying to break into the big leagues. We also tune into the plight of so many youths in our society who were born, like Negron, into adverse situations involving abuse, neglect, single parent homes and communities where alcohol and drug addiction are rampant, as he likewise shares experiences from his own childhood. We see how he is able to find common ground with the Yankee players we have come to recognize as legends of the game, based on troubled beginnings in life and opportunities to make a difference in their neighborhoods.
As a Yankee fan who admittedly only became loyal to the Bronx Bombers when my childhood heroes Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden joined them (up until then I was a Mets fan), I was fascinated by the stories written in this book about all the great Yankee legends that have worn the pinstripes over the years. These were stories about Yankee greats like Billy Martin, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, Catfish Hunter, Elston Howard, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and others. Some of these players I had heard of and some I had not heard of before I read this book. And, of course, there were great stories to read about of more familiar names to me like Reggie Jackson, Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, and more.
If you’re a baseball fan, you will enjoy this book. If you’re a Yankee fan, you will treasure this book. And if you are a fan of the underdog, you will be inspired by this book. In a world where second chances are sparse, it is refreshing to read a story about a kid who got the mother of all second chances and made the most out of that opportunity; to, in turn, serve his community and offer second chances to others. And what better time to read it than in October, the month where baseball fans around the world are hoping for miracles both on and off the field.