Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

It’s always been the way of the Babe… Helping kids like Coop and others!

Ever since I saw movies like The Pride of the Yankees and The Babe Ruth Story, the things that always stood out was the fact that kids were always being helped.

From the very beginning of true Yankee history, it all began for me when Babe Ruth came to the Yankees in 1920. That year the Babe would hit 54 homers and the true homerun era would begin.

The majestic Babe Ruth homer became the sexiest sports act of the Roaring Twenties.

Naturally, the Babe would become the most popular man in sports. Ruth and Broadway star Al Jolson were arguably the most famous performers in the world.

Ironically Babe Ruth and Al Jolson were at one time in a reform school called St. Mary’s School for boys. They did not know each other while there yet incredibly would go on to achieve world fame.

I would first learn about Jolson when I saw the Academy Award-nominated film… The Jolson Story. In doing my own research I would discover that their incredible acts of kindness for children were unmatched.

I would learn that they had no negative feelings towards minorities and really went out of their way to help African Americans during those difficult times.

Getting back to the children, there wasn’t anything that the Babe wouldn’t do for any child. If a kid was suffering from cancer the Babe would even go as far as to give those families of the sick kids money to help get them through difficult days.

Nobody visited more hospitals and orphanages than the Babe. He was actually the first athlete to bring droves of children to the Yankee Stadium.

The Babe was actually the first White athlete that would visit black kids programs in New York.

No white celebrity was photographed more often with the minorities of that era than Babe Ruth, and I have the photos to prove it.

To me Babe Ruth was more of a hero for that than for any homerun record that he had.

When I got to the Yankees in the ’70s I would learn that giving back had truly become the Yankees’ way.It had become a tradition. The thing that impressed me the most was that guys like Thurman Munson and Bobby Murcer and even Reggie didn’t have to be asked to do these things. They just did it because it was just a part of their DNA. On different occasions I would be driving with Thurman or Reggie and all of a sudden we would turn into a youth facility and they would be interacting with the kids of the school etc.

Bobby Murcer was a dynamo when it came to helping others. I must add that nobody did it better than our boss George Steinbrenner.

He was my biggest inspiration when it came to philanthropy because every time I asked him how could I ever repay him for what he had done for me he would always say that the only way you can pay me back is by helping those in need.

He always told me to just keep it real because because kids always know if you really care.

This week I truly enjoyed helping little Cooper Graham who is dealing with cancer and his sister Rylie who put up a lemonade stand so that they can raise funds for pediatric cancer awareness.

To see members of the fire department come and support was beautiful. To learn that N. Y. Mets principal owner Tia Alex Cohen and her husband Steve has extended their hand to help was absolutely wonderful. When the weather got hot and I took off my jacket and was sporting a Yankee sweatshirt Cooper’s dad Michael ran into the house and came back wearing a Mets jersey.

His daughter Rylie asked me if I was mad and I laughed and said that when it comes to charity we are all one team. The funny thing is that I believe that the children understand this better than the adults.

Let me close by saying that I am forever grateful to the great Babe Ruth for really being the man who showed us that giving back has always been better than receiving. The Boss always said to me that when you give you get … in more ways than one.

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