With the assistance of Cook (co-author: Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son, 1997, etc.), longtime New York Yankees employee Negron (One Last Time: Good-bye to Yankee Stadium, 2009, etc.) relates a series of heartwarming tales from his time with the storied franchise.
The author, whose previous Yankee-related books have been aimed at children, here offers a biography that seems straight out of a 1930s movie. As a young troublemaker, he was caught spray-painting graffiti on Yankee Stadium by the team’s new owner, George Steinbrenner. Hours later, he found himself in uniform, shagging flies from his heroes as a batboy, a job that would lead to a lifetime working in baseball. Negron’s effort to show the kindhearted side of the notoriously prickly “Boss” permeates this touching book. He joined the Yankee organization shortly after Steinbrenner’s purchase of the team, and he was there through the glory years of the 1970s, when the team included such icons as Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin. The author formed life-altering friendships with each of them, and he also features the triumphs and tragedies of other stars, including Mickey Mantle, Catfish Hunter, Dwight Gooden, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Each chapter recounts a “miracle” from the author’s time with the team, and Negron provides ample insight into the real men behind the uniforms. Though he doesn’t hold back from showing their flaws, the lenses through which he views them are heavily rose-colored.
A treasure-trove for sentimental Yankees fans and a feel-good read for all baseball fans.