Paying respect to Mr. Henry Aaron

Indirectly, I probably owe my baseball career to Henry Aaron, whose great feat of breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record we honor on today’s 35th anniversary of No. 715 in Atlanta. I wasn’t born yet when it happened, but I learned all about it from my granddaddy, George Cobbs. He loved Hank Aaron. It was all I heard about when I was little — Hank Aaron this, Hank Aaron that. All the time.

My granddad played ball in Arkansas and traveled around the area, to Louisiana, Missouri, all through that area of the country, playing ball. He loved the game, and it was a huge part of our heritage. He taught me how to throw a baseball, how to hit, catch, everything. My granddad had a lot to do with me becoming a baseball player, and a lot of that had to do with Hank Aaron, who was such an influence on him.

It’s a special day. We all should celebrate this, whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, Asian, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Hank Aaron was a great man, not only to break the biggest record in the history of sports — not just baseball, but all of sports — but because of the way he handled himself while he was doing it. His dignity and strength in going through what he did, those are the things that distinguish him and make him an American hero.

He didn’t talk about it at the time, but we learned later — and I learned from my family — about all the threats and all the things that he had to endure while he was going for the record. That kind of courage is what we should celebrate as Americans. When I go to schools to talk to kids and find out that they don’t even know who Aaron is, that really disappoints me. It hurts. He showed us all how to handle adversity with pride and character.

Hank Aaron deserves a place of honor in our history. I don’t know many, if any, players today who could have gone through what he did with such class and integrity.

I was fortunate to meet him once. It was at the All-Star Game in 2002 in Milwaukee. I shook his hand and told him what an honor it was to meet him. We didn’t get a chance to have a real conversation, but he wished me the best, and I had that moment. When you shake the hand of a man like that, a true legend, it’s something that sticks with you. I’ll never forget that.

He was one of the greatest of all time, and a true gentleman. I know Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and deserves all the credit in the world for that, but I really wish more kids knew who Hank Aaron is and what he means to so many people. He was a pioneer, like Jackie Robinson, paving the way for all the rest of us who came along behind him.

Here’s to Hank. You’re the man, Hammer.   

 

 

19 Comments

Thanks Hank!! You are one of my heroes as well :)
.
Very good post Torii, thank you as well, have a great year :)

Torii,
Great dedication to Mr. Aaron. It’s great that he was a factor in you becoming a baseball player as well as your granddad. Really shows how baseball is a tradition within families. It’s incredible how in the 70′s Aaron still had to deal with adversity, but like you said, he handled it with “pride and character”. My dad always tells me the story about how he missed #715, but he heard the roar of the crowd.
Thank you for sharing this with us, and I wish you luck this year. I think that you have developed into a modern day hero that young baseball players emulate.
Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Torii,
Great dedication to Mr. Aaron. It’s great that he was a factor in you becoming a baseball player as well as your granddad. Really shows how baseball is a tradition within families. It’s incredible how in the 70′s Aaron still had to deal with adversity, but like you said, he handled it with “pride and character”. My dad always tells me the story about how he missed #715, but he heard the roar of the crowd.
Thank you for sharing this with us, and I wish you luck this year. I think that you have developed into a modern day hero that young baseball players emulate.
Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Beautiful tribute to an amazing legend! And since I’ve never had the chance to say this to you, welcome to the OC Mr. Hunter. We’re so happy to have you!
Lori

Torii – Great article about Hammerin’ Hank. I am really sorry to hear the news about Nick Adenhart. My thoughts and prayers to all people affected.Russhttp://wight4256.mlblogs.com

I can’t imagine what the emotion is like in the Angels family right now. My prayers are with you guys.
-Mark
http://philliesperspective.mlblogs.com

This is a really great post about Hank Aaron. I think it’s really great when we can see those history-makers that had a direct impact on the people that we can and have become.

On a separate note, my heart goes out to you and the rest of the Angels today. He was so young and full of promise and I’d imagine he will be greatly missed by all of you.

Torii, I don’t want to take away from this great post, but I did want to be proactive in offering my condolences for the losses the Angels organization has suffered over the past 24 hours. I went to sleep last night with the news of the Angels fan who’d been killed in a fight at the stadium, and got to work this morning with the reports of the car accident.

Everyone around MLB opens their hearts for you guys, and all I can offer is my sympathy and my prayers.

http://houston.mlblogs.com

The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today. We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick’s family, friends’ loved ones and fans.

Congratulations Mr. Aaron. What a remarkable milestone

The entire baseball community sends their thoughts and prayers to the Angels Organization of their tragic loss today.

http://baseballintheattic.mlblogs.com/

Tori, my condolences to the Angel’s organization. Our Double A Minor League team, the Corpus Christi Hooks held a moment of silence for Nick Adenhart before the first ceremonial pitch. Adenhart spent the entire 2007 season with the Arkansas Travelers another Texas League team. He made three appearances against the Hooks. Nick touched the lives of many people and hopefully he provided a great example for players and fans to follow.

http://thehooks.mlblogs.com/

Torii, I know there are a lot of heavy hearts around the clubhouse. Y’all take care.
http://stonebutch99.mlblogs.com/

Tori,
You are a class act posting this about Henry Aaron. May someday, someone post something similar about you. My son has your jersey and enjoys watching you play. Our family just enjoys watching the Angels.

We were at the Easter Sunday game against the Red Sox and we were so sorry to see you get ejected. We had to drive back home to Vegas right after your game, but it was well worth it. Wow, what an uncalled situation!!!! We sat behind and between home plate and third base, closer to home and saw the whole ordeal. You had every right to get fumed if any remark was made about Adenhart or the Angles emotional state. I’ve been to so many games and it was obvious that today was a bit of a somber day, nevertheless. Every one should have more compassion towards others during a difficult situation. You all played very well. I just wish we could of seen you out there longer, but you did what you had to do. You have been a great addition to the Angels and I hope you stay with them a long time. Thanks for everything and your amazing character!!!
Anita

Torii,

Great post about Hammerin’ Hank.

My condolences to you & the Angel’s organization.

http://braveshq.mlblogs.com

Hi Torii,
I grew up in Smyrna, GA (about 12 miles north of Atlanta) in the 60s before moving to Southern CA on 1969 when I was 11. My first professional baseball game was a Brave’s game at old Fulton County Stadium. I played in Smyrna’s Little League from ’65 through ’68 and my hero was and is Hank Aaron. I got the chance to see him play a number of times at Dodger Stadium after we moved and he was always a class act, taking his place in right field and acknowledging the fans when the time was right during the games.
I watched with pride as he chased the all-time HR record in ’73 and ’74. I was so disappointed with all the hate and bitterness directed towards Mr Aaron because he was always so humble and gracious about his individual play and the records he established. His example of comportment in the face of the extreme hatred and threats leveled at him and his family shows more than the character of a great baseball player. It displays the depth and grace of the man that he is. I aways think of Hank Aaron whenever I think that I have tough times and I need a pick-me-up or inspiration to go on.
Thanks Torii for working to keep Hank’s name and accomplishments on the front of people’s minds. Everyone can learn and grow from the example of his behavior in the face of human cruelty.

Life of Bry – Angel’s & Aaron Fan

Best hitter ever! I was a big fan of Barry Bonds until the steroid alligation. Hank will always be ‘The best there is!, The best there was!, The best there ever will be!’ HANK AARON

Hammerin’ Hank was the man…no doubt about it. I remember watching the game when he broke Ruth’s record…it was crazy…all thos epeople on the field running the bases with him…it was a great time for baseball…it was a great time to be a kid and a baseball fan.

Randy – ExposurePerfect.com

Nicely written blog on Hank Aaron. I beacame a Braves fan in 1954 when I opened my first package of baseball cards and saw Andy Pafko of the Braves. The Braves had good teams back then (twice going to the World Series). Players like Hank could hit for average and hit for power. He was also a good fielder. Braves fans naturally gravitated towards Hank. He actually crept up on the home run record as many American League fans did not even know who he was until he got close tothe home-run record. Television did not cover as many games back then and gthe media scrutiny was not the same. Hank had class and just went about plying his trade.
What a great time to be Braves fan – Eddie Matthews, Del Crandell, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn. It was also a good time to be a ball fan with the likes of Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente and Mickey Mantle in the majors.

Nicely written blog on Hank Aaron. I beacame a Braves fan in 1954 when I opened my first package of baseball cards and saw Andy Pafko of the Braves. The Braves had good teams back then (twice going to the World Series). Players like Hank could hit for average and hit for power. He was also a good fielder. Braves fans naturally gravitated towards Hank. He actually crept up on the home run record as many American League fans did not even know who he was until he got close tothe home-run record. Television did not cover as many games back then and gthe media scrutiny was not the same. Hank had class and just went about plying his trade.
What a great time to be Braves fan – Eddie Matthews, Del Crandell, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn. It was also a good time to be a ball fan with the likes of Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente and Mickey Mantle in the majors.

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