Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Fordham University visit helpful after friends death

Last Wednesday, I received a phone call from my great friend Murray Bauer.  Murray had been a long-time business advisor to Yankee great Roy White and to so many wonderful entertainers.

We probably spoke about five to seven times a week.

Murray was definitely one of the most intelligent and influential people that I knew.

During that phone call, Murray told me that this would probably be the last time that we would talk. He said that he wanted to say goodbye.

Murray had not been well for a while but I didn’t think he was that bad. He told me otherwise.  I still didn’t believe him. I told him that I was going to pray extra hard for him that night. He said thanks but I could tell that he wasn’t buying it. He said that he thought that it was “Three strikes!”

Well, the next day his son called and told me that Murray had become nonresponsive. I still had hope, however, Saturday morning I heard from his son that Murray had passed away and that my call was the last he had made.

If you knew Murray you would understand my pain. I can only imagine the pain of his family.

Two weeks before, my dear friend Byron Janis died so I was still grieving about losing Byron.

Byron was one of the world’s greatest classical pianists but more importantly one of the world’s greatest people.

Like Murray, Byron would become a true mentor. I could never get enough of his wonderful stories about his incredible life. For that matter, I felt the same about Murray and his escapades with rock and roll star Jay Black and Bobby Rydell, and other artists of that time.

People forget that celebrities are just people who probably have more problems than normal people and Murray just always seemed to be there to help. However, Murray was always there for all people. I don’t know how many times he was there for me.

The other night I saw the movie FLASHDANCE, for probably the 50th time, and every time I see the scene when the film’s lead character goes to visit the elderly lady who has become her mentor, I can’t help but think of Byron. If you watch the film you will understand especially now that Byron is gone.

This Monday, because of the solar eclipse, the Yankees game start time was pushed back to 6 pm for safety reasons.

That was also the start time of a commitment I had at Fordham University.

I speak several times a year at several colleges around the city including Columbia University and Suffolk Community College about communication and sports/entertainment.

For a moment I thought of just staying home and just sulk and grieve. I was literally making myself feel sick.

I finally decided to go to Fordham and share my stories with the students. I knew that it was the right thing to do and I also knew that Murray and Byron would have both said to get off my ass and go give those kids a positive message.

In my mind, I was there in front of those kids in honor of two of my mentors.

The kids helped get me through the pain. Their incredible spirit lifted me up.

I also felt so happy that a new generation of kids would be introduced to two such different individuals in such different careers in the entertainment industry who proved to the world that you could be extremely successful and also be wonderful people.

Special thanks to professor Joe Favorito of Columbia and Fordham and Professor Bill O’Connell of Suffolk Community College for believing that I too have something to say!

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