RIP Hammerin’ Hank
January 22, 2021
There goes part of my childhood.
While I grew up a Red Sox fan, I would listen to the Braves’ games on my transistor radio every night In the summer. Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson were the announcers. And Hank Aaron was the unquestionable star of the team. Knock-A-Homa would emerge from his teepee in left field after a Brave hit a homerun and many of those were hit by Hammerin’ Hank. He always talked about how important his wrists were in his swing — messed up my swing something awful as I tried to emulate his “flipping the wrists” swing.
Mister Aaron was never as flashy as his contemporary Willie Mays. Mays was so smooth; Aaron seemed to lumber.
But as he approached Ruth’s 714 home run record, he did it with class. I can’t imagine the threats he must have endured as a black man in the south who was going to break the ultimate baseball record.
But he did it that April night — into the Braves’s bullpen in Fulton County Stadium (Tom House caught the ball). And you bet I was watching that game.
After he retired, Mister Aaron continued with his polite, humble approach to life. He would probably have been swallowed alive in today’s media circus around sports.
Thanks for all the memories, Mister Aaron.