Today is Father’s Day. It’s supposed to be a happy day. This is actually the first without my parents. I was told that it would be a tough one. To say that it has been hard would be an understatement. I depended on my parents for true moral support. Their wisdom was thru the roof. They knew nothing about my world of baseball and could never understand the business end of it.
They could never comprehend how if the world was at war or a child may have been kidnaped that Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin would end up on the cover of the morning paper for screaming at each other.
Yet they always knew what to say to me at my lowest moments.
In life, when they talk about unconditional love only a parent or your children can give you that.
I have spent most of this morning crying because of the many text messages that I have received from people. It is a reminder of just how difficult this first parent’s day is without them.
I can only thank God that my four kids are there for me and love me unconditionally.
In my business of baseball, unless you can hit a 95 mile an hour fast ball consistently you really don’t make much money. You are in it for the true love of the game. If I wasn’t in baseball I may have ended up a criminal like a lot of people from my youth.
When I used to try to thank Mr. Steinbrenner for saving me, he always used to tell me that my life was a part of destiny and I would not have taken that bad path.
Billy Martin once wrote me a letter saying exactly the same thing. I miss these two man more than words can say. They treated a poor Puerto Rican kid (me) that had a very low self-esteem like I was really somebody. They both would tell me to never let the ignorant people in this game to ever get you down. If they did get you down to let them know right away and they would take care of business. Like my parents, the Boss and Billy were very protective of their kids. They used to tell me that nothing was more important in this world than their kids. At one time, I was having a quiet moment with the Boss in his car and all he talked about was the fact that he wished he could spend more time with his kids and how great they were. He was very proud of his kids. It has really motivated me to always let my kids know how proud I am of them. On this Father’s Day I miss my wonderful Mom and Dad. I miss the Boss, I miss Billy and I miss my big brother Thurman who was always talking about going home to his wife and kids.
I want to thank my son Ricky for the wonderful Father’s Day gift of getting drafted by the Atlanta Braves. You earned this with all your hard work. I hope the Braves do the right thing! I thank my son Joey for never giving up when you could have, and for becoming the golden gloves light heavy weight champion. My oldest son, Jon-Erik who is a police officer in New York and puts his life at risk every night. When he puts on his uniform, he really does care! And then there is my unsung hero, my daughter, my little girl. To me, she is the most beautiful girl in the world, inside and out. She is in the cosmetics industry and nothing made me feel more proud than the night that she was working at the premier party for the television show Vinyl. Her clients that night were a couple of guys named Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese. She has more common sense than anybody I know. I should listen to her more!
Life is really too short and everything is a lesson. Let’s really try to enjoy life one day at a time. Also, let’s not forget that our greatest miracles are our children but at the same time please enjoy your parents and your parent figures while you have them.
Happy Parents Day.