Hitting it out of the park, Memorial Healthcare System’s Cardiac and Vascular Institute hosted an Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting featuring Ray Negron, New York Yankees executive and author of “Yankee Miracles: Life with the Boss and the Bronx Bombers,“ now being developed into a Broadway musical.
The Sport of Kings at Gulfstream Park was the premier venue for the event where all-star business and community leaders as well as a roster of student athletes were welcomed by AMC Chair Gary Pyott of Association 1st. For helping to arrange Negron’s appearance, appreciation was expressed to Karen Dresbach, Executive Vice President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Rick Sostre, producer of “161st Street: A New York Fable,” the Broadway musical that will tell Negron’s real-life story.
On behalf of Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, cardiologist Dr. Eli Friedman noted, “Humanistic care is truly the ‘Memorial Way.’
Our team of experienced, board -certified physicians are dedicated to providing highly- personalized, patient-centered, world-class heart care. We are Broward County’s volume leader in multiple cardiac procedures, and our cardiac Surgery Department is in the top 1% in the country. The Institute’s state-of-the art diagnostic equipment and cutting-edge techniques are eliminating the need for open heart surgery and making it possible for patients to go home sooner with less complications.” Dr. Friedman also noted Memorial will soon be opening a new Sports Medicine Center dedicated to serving the healthcare needs of active people and athletes.
From miraculous recoveries, the topic turned to Negron’s book, “Yankee Miracles,” highlighting the power of baseball to transform lives.
In 1973, the incredible metamorphosis of a former “teenage street punk” took place when at 17 years old, Negron was caught spraying graffiti on the walls of Yankee Stadium by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Negron recounted the story of how Steinbrenner looked past his transgression and made him a bat boy.
Negron went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates and ultimately became a successful sports executive, befriending many baseball greats including Joe DiMaggio, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Yogi, Munson, Mantle, A-Rod and Jeter. He is also a columnist, host of “Impact” on ESPN radio, and has written a series of best-selling children’s books, which inspired celebrities to lend their voices to the animated film “Henry & Me” about a young boy’s magical journey as he battles illness.
As a community consultant for the Yankees, Negron visits schools and hospitals with former and current Yankees players. He has also inspired hundreds of underprivileged children to stay in the game of baseball and off the streets by creating Hank’s Yanks, a league of youth baseball teams, producing many college and professional baseball players.
“A reason why George Steinbrenner looked out for me when I was a kid was because a guy working at the stadium said, ‘You can’t help those people,’” Negron said. “He took it as a challenge and decided, ‘We can help anybody if we try hard enough, if we give a damn.’ Forty-five years later, I’m still with the Yankees.”
Negron also credited Steinbrenner for giving him guidance to help him succeed despite “life’s curve balls” and become a good father to his sons – two of whom are now police officers. He also shared a personal story about one of his sons who turned his life around after a DUI arrest. “I stayed on him to the point he wanted to fight me, but I told him, ‘I’m going to keep talking to you because I love you.’ Then he started taking his aggressions out in the gym and went on to become the New York State light heavyweight boxing champion.”
Inspiring fans in the audience, Negron emphasized, “Follow your dreams and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not good enough or you can’t. If you want to be in the major leagues, just go for it!”
For more information about the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute visit mhs.net/services/cardiac-vascular