Ray Negron may lack the name value of an Alex Rodriguez or a Joe Torre, but he has stories that would sell. For the better part of the last 36 years - the period that George Steinbrenner has owned the Yankees, in other words - Negron has been behind the scenes of the most famous team in U.S. professional sports. Yet, as he makes clear, "I am not for sale."
Now an adviser to the Yankees, Negron has turned down offers from multiple publishers to share his memoirs and has found a different avenue to express himself. "One Last Time: Good-Bye to Yankee Stadium" is his third children's book starring Yankees legends, with the proceeds again going to charity.
"Joe Torre was supposed to be an icon in New York," Negron said this past week in an interview. "To me, what he did with that book ["The Yankee Years"] was just an insult to everything that's supposed to be so good about the Yankees.
"You don't take shots, you don't talk negative, if you're a manager. You don't talk negative about your players. These guys were your players. These guys went to war with you. You don't do that. That was really bothersome, because I expected more from him."
Negron's conversations with HarperCollins, the publisher of his three books, began with the idea of the memoir. Particularly his tales of working alongside The Boss, who caught him spray-painting Yankee Stadium in 1973. Rather than turn him in, Steinbrenner made him a batboy.
Negron's first two books - "The Boy of Steel" and "The Greatest Story Never Told: Babe and Jackie" - sold well enough to keep the franchise going. Negron also has signed animation and movie deals for his work.
In this latest book, lead character "Ray the Batboy" works with Steinbrenner to bring back legendary Yankees players - Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and many others - for one final game in the old Yankee Stadium before it's torn down (in reality, of course, the old Stadium is still around for now).
"This book is a total tribute to Yankee Stadium," Negron said. "Yankee Stadium is like a beautiful woman. You're not going to see her anymore. This book is also a tribute to George Steinbrenner, who doesn't come to the ballpark as much anymore. I miss him. It hurts. This book was a total tribute to what I feel his heart for Yankee Stadium and the Yankees are really all about."