A tribute to Henry Aaron.
I spent my youth learning to be a baseball fan. When I was 9 years old, the Braves moved their franchise to Atlanta from Milwaukee. I quickly became a fan. I went to my first game at the new stadium that fall. Our church regularly took the young folk to games a couple of times a year. I quickly became a fan of Hank Aaron.
In 1966 or 67 CocaCola did a bottle top campaign where they put pictures of players inside the bottle tops. If you collected all the players, you could turn in your sheet and receive colored, autographed pictures of each Braves player. My brother, Charles, and I both filled out a sheet as did our neighbor, Joe. Later, as a VBS craft,we were doing decoupage. I chose to use my picture of Hank for my project. That picture hung on my wall for years. I found it recently and it is now hanging on our wall next to the original members of the Braves Hall of Fame.
On April 8, 1974, I was in the stands when Hank hit the home run to break Babe Ruth’s home run record. It was a night I will never forget.
Not only was Hank a great baseball player, he was a quality man as well. He spoke up for civil rights for all people. During his run at the home run title, he received hate mail and death threats. Those things hurt him, but he kept playing the game he loved.
He did not just hit home runs. He won gold gloves for fielding. He ended his career in the top tier for hits, doubles, rbi’s and hitting percentage.
Hank was always humble and let his playing speak for itself. I am so glad I got to watch him play the game in person. It was always a thrill.