Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Cabrera Slam makes kids feel Grand

When you are a kid that goes to a school in the poorest congressional district in America, you don’t expect anything or anyone of substance to really care about you let alone visit you.

Well at CS 55 in the Bronx things have always been different.

One day I was taking a ride with George Steinbrenner and he was in a very melancholy mood. My friend Luis Torres had just been appointed Principal of CS.55 in the Bronx. The school is located approximately 10 minutes from Yankee Stadium. I asked the Boss if he would do me a favor and stop of at the school to say hi to Luis and the kids.

Mr. Steinbrenner said let’s do it. It was a beautiful unannounced visit. Principal Torres acted like a fan meeting Elvis. He couldn’t do enough for the Boss. The thing that really warmed my heart was when the predominantly Hispanic and African American kids made such a big deal about Mr. Steinbrenner. At one point when the young principal told the boss some of the kid’s stories Mr. Stienbrenner’s eyes got red so he put on his navigator sunglasses so that we wouldn’t notice, but we did.

After his visit, he would send Principal Torres a letter inquiring about the kids. That letter hangs on the hallway wall for all to see.

After that visit, the Boss would encourage me to bring his Yankee players to visit the kids there.

I can’t tell you how many players have visited the school. Robinson Cano, Robby Alomar, Ching Ming Wang, Mark Texiera, A. Rod, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela are just too many to remember.

Urshela was probably the all-time favorite because he really adopted the school. During the pandemic, he delivered thousands of hand sanitizers and other essentials for the children and their families.

When he was traded away this year to Minnesota it was a hard blow for the school.

However, as the Boss would sometimes say, Whatever is supposed to be will be…

This past month the Yanks brought up a new young and energetic player by the name of Oswaldo Cabrera. Looking at his smile on camera instantly told me that this was the next CS 55 disciple. Since the pandemic, it’s very difficult to get to some of our players and I can honestly say that I prayed to God to help me because I knew that this was the right person to deliver a great message to the kids.

Well God answered my prayers because I ran into Yankee associate and Cabrera agent/friend Billy Rose.

I explained to Bill about how important a visit by Cabrera to those kids would be. How it could impact their lives. He totally agreed, had a conversation with Oswaldo, and the next thing you know this young Yankee was standing at the podium at CS 55 speaking in both English and Spanish about all phases of life. It was really another beautiful moment for this young baseball player and these very impressionable kids.

He even met a little boy from his hometown in Venezuela. That was emotional because Cabrera gave him a very heartfelt hug and the little boy truly felt the love.

I must thank Billy Rose for understanding the importance of helping thy fellow man.

George Steinbrenner use to love to quietly help those in need in so many ways. He use to say that when you give you get. One time he went to my friend’s Dominican restaurant on 191 st and St Nicholas Ave, not because he was hungry but because he knew that the owner (Miguel Montas) was my friend and his visit could really help Miguel’s family. The name of the restaurant was El Nuevo Caridad. When we got there Miguel was so excited that he ran up and down the block screaming that El Jeffe esta aqui. Translation… The Boss is here!

What I have found so incredible about the school visits is that every time one of our players visits this school they have had incredible games right afterward. Yesterday after his visit Oswaldo Cabrera would go on to hit a Grand Slam. Now if that isn’t Heaven sent then I don’t know what is.

Thanks, Boss for leading the pack.

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