NEW YORK, NY – 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of a punk 17-year-old youngster from Queens looking to get into some mischief. It started with a day of playing hooky. The mischief found its way into the South Bronx, where a Cathedral-like wall led to the early stages of peer pressure.
The last thing that 17-year-old punk wanted to do was deface that wall with spray paint. In his mind he was under enormous pressure to prove that “he belongs.” The peer pressure from his crew was overwhelming, but only to him, as his index finger pressed down on a Krylon spray can. Out came the white paint, and the letters NY were painted on the wall of Yankee Stadium, in a sloppy amateurish interlocking form.
The best thing to ever have happened to Ray Negron was getting arrested for his idiotic act. By now the story has been told over and over and is well documented among New York’s street tales.
Ray’s “lucky” arrest was classified as a citizen’s arrest with the citizen being the new Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Negron was released from NYPD custody into the hands of Steinbrenner, who took punishment into his own hands. He made Negron the team’s batboy, while outfitting him in a different type of stripes, Yankee pinstripes. Some people might view that as being worse than being locked-up behind bars.
As the years passed, the Yankees’ batboy made a few pit-stops. First, as a 2nd round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and later as an advisor for the Tokyo Giants, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. He always found himself back with The Boss, who made Negron his advisor… not that he ever listened.
His current role today is Community Advisor.
The one time George did listen to his one-time batboy, was with the signing of two washed-up superstars from the N.Y. Mets, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry. The two made a huge impact on the 1996 championship team, which led to the last dynasty. Negron’s 96 ring is practically glued to his finger, knowing his heart and soul contributed to that championship.
Over the years, Ray Negron’s contributions are more off the field, promoting the Yankees brand. His endless charity events have helped a bunch of needy families. His school and hospital appearances are to show that the Yankees care. Negron has taken his Community Advisor role to another level, which can be titled as Yankee Ambassador. He bleeds Yankees blue, and if you dissect his heart, one might find it wrapped in pinstripes.
Thoughts of retirement are far and above from the 67-year-old batboy’s mind. With the spirit of The Boss, George Steinbrenner, guiding him, Negron will do his part to bring a smile on everyone’s face. The peer pressure Negron once confronted has turned into life’s lessons.