Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Becoming an Aaron Judge takes help of many

To become a successful Major League Baseball star or in the case of Aaron Judge a megastar, you have to have the support of many.

Your parents are vital because they are the core support from day one. As you grow up you have your little league coach, your school teachers, and even the mentors at the boys & girls clubs.

It takes so many different types of mentors to help shape the right type of person that has to carry the responsibility of being a great Major League Baseball player both on and off the field.

When it came to the Yankees we had to fend for ourselves and we did. George Steinbrenner had just purchased the team and we had great leaders like Thurman Munson and Lou Piniella and Bobby Murcer. Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson were also great leaders. The fact that Billy Martin was our manager really helped in more ways than one.

What people didn’t understand was that all these guys took their life experiences and really helped each other with it. That’s why even though we fought a lot with each other we were also able to learn from each other. The thing that impressed our Boss (Steinbrenner) so much was that when it came time to play the game we were all business.

What I loved so much about our Boss was that he sucked up so much of this and took it as a period of self-education.

Clock forward twenty years Mr. Steinbrenner surrounded himself with people that had dealt with a lot of true life experiences like Billy Martin who battled a drinking problem, like myself with and my life issues.

One of those people was an ex-Marine that came right out of the Bronx and when he got back from the war in Vietnam he had to deal with his own war on addiction. Ron was a drug addict and alcoholic. His battle with addiction was so strong and successful that he became the head of the local 12-step program in St. Petersburg Florida. I got to know him because I took Doc Gooden to his program and saw great improvement from Gooden. I told Mr. Steinbrenner about him and the Boss decided to bring him on board.

Ron would go on to help so many of our young players. He loved them and they would love him back. A player didn’t have to have a drug problem in order to get help from Ron. We should always remember that life experiences and the fact that you can share them with others in order to help others is the key to successfully helping people. That’s what Ron Dock did.

I wanted to write this scenario on Ron Dock so that I can honestly say to him that George Steinbrenner was extremely grateful to him for all the help that he gave the Yanks through the years. If the Boss had one regret it was that he didn’t have Ron sooner.

Ron told me that the last young player he got to spend time with as a counselor was Aaron Judge. Ron says that Judge was a terrific person then and he is a terrific person now. Ron is not surprised at all at Judge’s great success. Ron said that he could tell that Judge always had good mentors around him.

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