Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Yanks batboy Herbst fought like Gehrig

In 1979 George Steinbrenner Was sitting at LA-CLUB a then extremely popular restaurant and noticed a busboy getting screamed at by the maitre’d.

It upset the Boss to the point where he, of all people, told the maitre’d to stop yelling at the kid. At the end of the night, Mr Steinbrenner went over to the busboy and told him to pay him a visit to Yankee Stadium the next day.

This was the beginning of a young man getting the opportunity of a lifetime. As had happened on several occasions, the Boss would make Neil Herbst a Yankee Batboy.

The incredible thing about this situation was that as faith would have it, five years before Neil’s brother Seth had been a batboy himself.

Neil would go on to have a beautiful experience as a batboy and it would be something that he would spiritually carry with him for the rest of his life.

Neil would go on to have a very successful career in the business world marry his dream girl and have great kids.

Unfortunately, a few years ago Neil started having physical problems, when he wasn’t getting better doctors discovered that he was suffering from ALS. Ironically Lou Gehrig Decease.

Like Lou Gehrig, Neil fought like an extremely brave champion. He lived every day with the thought that someday he would get better. Like Gehrig, he never ever gave up.

Last year during the Pandemic he virtually threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium.

This week I got a message from Seth Herbst to let me know that his courageous brother had lost his fight with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

I had spoken with Neil two weeks ago and I can honestly say that he was still fighting. He had not yet given up. He asked me if I could possibly get permission for him to throw out the first pitch in person.

The next time I get back to the Stadium, I will go out to the mound pray 🙏 to God and thank him for the wonderful opportunity I have had to be friends and co-Batboys with Neil, and hope that when it’s time for me to meet my Maker that I can be as courageous as Neil Herbst, a brave and proud YANKEE BATBOY an incredible man. I will then throw that pitch for him.

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