There is another remarkable Bronx tale that has yet to be told — until now.
This Sunday, the new Argyle Theatre at Babylon Village will be debuting the true life story of Ray Negron and his journey from being a batboy for the New York Yankees to a team executive.
“It’s the story of my life and my love for the Yankees,” Negron said, describing his self-written play, “Bat Boy: A Yankee Miracle.”
And, it has gotten a stamp of approval from the man behind The Bronx Tale movie itself.
Negron’s story dates to 1973, a day when he and his friends skipped class his junior year.
The group hopped on a subway car to Yankee Stadium, where they began spray painting on the side of the building. After Negron finished tagging “NY,” he turned around to find a fuming George M. Steinbrenner.
Instead of having the 16-year-old arrested, Steinbrenner put him to work to pay for the damages. He later became a batboy, among other clubhouse duties like a babysitter for Bobby Bonds’s son.
The play shows Negron living every kid’s dream of working for his hometown team while making relationships with childhood heroes.
Today, the 62-year-old works as a community consultant for the Yankees.
story continues after the photo
For years, Negron toyed with the idea of writing his own play to tell the story of his life.
He was jolted into writing after the tragic death of famed Yankees catcher Thurman Munson in 1979.
“When Thurman Munson died I started suffering anxiety attacks,” said Negron. “He made me start writing my feelings out. That’s when I started writing my life story.”
But before he wrote his play, he published several books while he said Broadway production teams worked on his script.
“This year they told me they’ll have it done in two more years,” he said. “I am 62 now, Chazz Palminteri told me to do it myself or it may never work.”
Negron credits the original Bronx Tale writer as being a great help in playwriting career, offering him advice and guidance.
“It started as a one-man show that turned into a cast of 20,” said Negron.
And his show is filled with star power.
Ciarán Sheehan, known for his role as The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, is playing Bobby Murcer; Joseph Gian of Knots Landing has the role of Thurman Munson; and two-time Yankee World Series outfielder Mickey Rivers is playing himself.
“I am excited to at least say that I did it,” said Negron. “The rest is going to be history.”
the Babylon connection
The well-known Yankee exec could’ve chosen anywhere for his new play, but he picked the Argyle Theatre for a reason.
Back in the 1970s, before there was a thought of an Argyle Theatre in Babylon, Negron and the Theatre’s owner, Mark Perlman, were two teenagers on a semi-professional baseball team called the Flushing Tigers — an affiliate team of the Detroit Tigers.
“He was an elite baseball player,” Negron said of Perlman.
The two instantly connected for the short time they played together.
“He had a Puerto Rican-fro and I had a Jew-fro … we could never keep our hats on when we ran,” said a laughing Perlman.
After their time together, the two disconnected but still kept up with each other’s careers in the papers.
It wasn’t until two years ago, about 40 years later, when they linked up again.
“We knew there was a vision for what we were doing and his ideas were evolving for years now,” said Perlman, who opened Argyle Theatre with his son, Dylan. “Ray has a quick mind and he is always thinking of ways to improve the quality [of the show].”
“Bat Boy: A Yankee Miracle” will debut Sunday, June 24, at 2:30 p.m.
To buy tickets, click here.