For the Record
Can you imagine the thrill of making it to the major leagues? I can’t, and neither can you; we’ve never done it. Now imagine that thrill compounded because you never expected to do it; there were long odds against you. Well, Jim Morris did it. Do yourselves a great big favor. Don’t miss the movie "The Rookie" at your theaters now. It’s a true story, and an outstanding movie.
Story of the Week
Even though he led the National League in hits and batting average in 1956, Henry Aaron was pictured backward----batting left-handed----on his 1957 baseball card.
That was fitting symbolism for the man who did everything quietly. Aaron set records for career RBI’s (2,297), and total bases (6,856), won two batting titles and four RBI crowns, and hit .300 or better in 14 seasons----all very quietly.
Few exclaimed over his fielding, although Hank Aaron played errorless defense in 14 World Series games, won three Gold Gloves, and led the National League’s outfielders three times in assists.
Aaron hit cross-handed with Mobile, and with Indianapolis of the Negro League. After the Braves bought his contract, he hit .326 in the Northern League, and led the Sally League with a .362 batting average. (He actually integrated the Sally League.) The 1951 Giants’ legend, Bobby Thomson, broke his ankle in spring training in 1954 in his first year with Milwaukee, and Aaron became a major league regular at age 20.
Three years later, with characteristically little fanfare, he was named the National League’s MVP as the Braves won the pennant. He hit .393 in the World Series against the Yankees, including three home runs, to lead all hitters. Aaron hit home runs in two of the 24 All-Star games in which he played, homered in all three playoff games in 1969, and amassed a lifetime World Series record of .364.
Number 44 attracted attention with his home runs, hitting 44 in four different seasons. He won three National League home run titles, and tied for a fourth. In 1973, he hit 40 home runs in just 392 at-bats. He broke Babe Ruth’s record the following year with a shot off Al Downing in Atlanta, and finished his career with a record 755 home runs.
Although many fans discovered Henry Aaron after most of his career was over, his colleagues knew how special he was. Stan Musial jumped onto the field to congratulate him when he joined the 3,000-hit club, and Mickey Mantle credited Aaron with being the greatest player of his era. I rate him as the best right-fielder I’ve ever seen. Aaron was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.
Last Week’s Trivia
What famous father and two sons played for the same pro hockey team at the same time? The best hockey player I ever saw, Gordie Howe, left the Detroit Red Wings and the NHL for the Houston Aeros of the World Hockey Association. There, he teamed up with his sons, Mark and Marty Howe.
Trivia Question of the Week
What team holds the record for fewest points scored in a quarter during an NBA game? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.