Let's Celebrate Mr. Hank Aaron Here

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Heavy ESPN science being dropped here, suggesting that Henry Aaron is the most underappreciated superstar in baseball history:
I think I agree with everything said here. No one did it better, for longer, than this man, who is nevertheless reduced to "well, he just played longer."

Arguments? Anecdotes? Assents? Affirmations?

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Friday, 9 April 2004 14:03 (seventeen years ago) link

no, no argument from me. the announcers on wgn radio were spouting off on some of his stats yesterday and they were mind boggling. almost 3,800 hits, over 200 stolen bases, the power, the fact that he played almost every day until he was in his late 30's. all very impressive.

otto midnight (otto midnight), Friday, 9 April 2004 14:18 (seventeen years ago) link

I've read one account for the reason Aaron was such a good hitter was that he batted cross handed until he was a late teenager. Because of this, Aaron's wrists were extraordinarily strong and after coaches corrected his swing, it gave him supreme bat control. He definitely didn't strike out like a power hitter.

earlnash, Friday, 9 April 2004 14:44 (seventeen years ago) link

Didn't Hank swing one of the heaviest bats, too?

He was my favorite ballplayer while I was growing up, bar none. I still vividly remember where I was when he hit #715. My dad was such a fan of the game that he made a big deal of taking my family up to Milwaukee to see a game in 1975 when Hank was on the Brewers. I now appreciate that gesture so, so much.

Baked Bean Teeth (Baked Bean Teeth), Friday, 9 April 2004 16:58 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know about underappreciated, he's universally regarded as one of the greatest ever. This article reads more like a "let me remind you why he's so great" rather than a "let me convince you of his greatness that has been undervalued".

gygax! (gygax!), Friday, 9 April 2004 17:03 (seventeen years ago) link

"Didn't Hank swing one of the heaviest bats, too?"

Acording to what Aaron was saying last night during the Mets/Braves game used an average sized bat (32 oz.) and he didn't shave the neck at all. Hank said that having the weight even through the bat helped to be able to stop the bat on check swings.

earlnash, Friday, 9 April 2004 17:23 (seventeen years ago) link

Has anybody read his autobiography? It has one of the best titles ever, "I Had A Hammer". I started it last year but I only got about a quarter of the way into it. Not because it was bad or boring (and certainly not a hard read), I think I just got sidetracked. I should start it again.

Broheems (diamond), Friday, 9 April 2004 17:30 (seventeen years ago) link

I like his lack of sentimentality re: Bonds's immanent consumption of the all-time record. Classy, esp. compared to the opulence that Mays has planned.

Leee O'Gaddy (Leee), Friday, 9 April 2004 20:11 (seventeen years ago) link

GODDAMN ATLANTA SPORTSFANS SUCK - low ass turnout at the tribute the other night, lowkey ceremony. this is the same town that gave pete rose a bigger ovation than hometown hero aaron at the team of the century (and yeah rose woulda got a bigger ovation in any other park* too, but in aaron's back fucking yard?). ugh - atlanta sportsfans are at least 60% of why i don't like the braves more. if/when they trade andruw i'm done with them.

* cept milwaukee maybe

cinniblount (James Blount), Sunday, 11 April 2004 06:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Broheems "I Had a Hammer" is great

cinniblount (James Blount), Sunday, 11 April 2004 06:57 (seventeen years ago) link

They should have named it Hank Aaron Field instead of for Ted Turner. That destroyed the 1% of good karma they still had from Hank's tenure there. I told that to my friend Cobb County Jon and he said "I agree with you but you KNOW they're never gonna do it, it's a suburban white thing, give it up."

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Sunday, 11 April 2004 12:12 (seventeen years ago) link

one could easily make the case that braves fans are the worst in baseball. this is not a surprise.

John (jdahlem), Sunday, 11 April 2004 17:48 (seventeen years ago) link

the throwback Braves unis are so much better than the current ones.

hstencil, Sunday, 11 April 2004 23:25 (seventeen years ago) link

Cobb County Jon!

cinniblount (James Blount), Monday, 12 April 2004 07:29 (seventeen years ago) link

(well, he doesn't really go by that, JB, but if the shoe fits)
(plus he lives in maaaaassachusetts now, so a red sox fan by default)
(plus I got in trouble with my own wife for adhering to omerta in re: our activities during his bachelor party in new orleans, so screw it, he deserves getting stuck with that lame-ass nickname)
(although he did once call me when drunk as hell from a bathroom in minneapolis to read me an onion article about mike tyson, so he's somewhat mitigated)
(plus he's a braves fan so I have taken pity on him)

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Monday, 12 April 2004 12:52 (seventeen years ago) link

No dis at all at Aaron, but he didn't play as demanding a defensive position as Willie (except CF for just a couple years, I recall). And over 200 stolen bases in 24 seasons isn't much of a feat.

Dr Morbius, Monday, 12 April 2004 17:52 (seventeen years ago) link

And over 200 stolen bases in 24 seasons isn't much of a feat.

240 for his career, 195 of those between 1960 and 1968. not bad when coupled with 755 home runs. not willie mays numbers but better than most.

otto midnight (otto midnight), Monday, 12 April 2004 17:58 (seventeen years ago) link

who was comparing him to willie? but since YOU STARTED IT, they're very similar offensive players, but mays wins with the defense. or do hank's 300 extra games compensate?

John (jdahlem), Monday, 12 April 2004 18:04 (seventeen years ago) link

in a way, gygax!, this is what I'm talking about. babe ruth, everyone's all like "oh yeah." ted williams, "oh the splendid splinter." but bring up hank aaron, "sure, yeah, whatever, but willie mays was better!"

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Monday, 12 April 2004 19:22 (seventeen years ago) link

i think you have a point, but that may be because hank was an inferior player. w/ both ted and the babe, there is truly no one better. of course, when people bring up joe d. you do not often hear "sure, but willie was better!". i think hank's main problem is that he was a bore.

John (jdahlem), Monday, 12 April 2004 19:26 (seventeen years ago) link

(i'm just kidding of course, his problem is that he didn't play for a NY/Boston team, see also stan musial)

John (jdahlem), Monday, 12 April 2004 19:33 (seventeen years ago) link

Wow, thank god for the "Your message has not been inserted" function. Now I don't have to post what I'd written, which was kind of harsh. You are probably correct in your 'big market' assessment. But yeah, Hank Aaron never bored me or any of my friends as kids. We worshipped him even before he broke the record, and afterwards it was like WOW.

Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Monday, 12 April 2004 19:36 (seventeen years ago) link

wow, and i thought that addendum was unnecessary! now i want to see what you'd written though.

John (jdahlem), Monday, 12 April 2004 19:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Aaron isn't nearly as well known as Mays for his defense (i.e. he doesn't have "the catch" on film), but supposedly he had a great arm early in his career until he injured his shoulder. He did win three gold gloves. Hank also had a 30hr/30sb year, so at one point he could run. Keep in mind, other than Maury Wills and Lou Brock, the 60s wasn't known for stolen bases.

One of my favorite stories I have heard about Hank Aaron was Don Drysdale brushing him back. When he went into the dugout, Walter Alston supposedly got on him for throwing up high as it would only make him mad. I guess he went on a tear for the rest of the series and clobbered the Dodgers. This is one of the reasons he got the nickname "Bad Henry". I think it was in the episode of Sports Century about Hank Aaron.

earlnash, Monday, 12 April 2004 22:12 (seventeen years ago) link

But WHY didn't he play in the '73 game between Atlanta and the Mets I attended? :(

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 13 April 2004 15:19 (seventeen years ago) link

four years pass...

turned 75 yesterday:


Dr Morbius, Friday, 6 February 2009 15:09 (twelve years ago) link

They should have named it Hank Aaron Field instead of for Ted Turner. That destroyed the 1% of good karma they still had from Hank's tenure there. I told that to my friend Cobb County Jon and he said "I agree with you but you KNOW they're never gonna do it, it's a suburban white thing, give it up."

― Begs2Differ (Begs2Differ), Sunday, April 11, 2004 8:12 AM (4 years ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

haha, i had this exact same argument with my parents when i was 12 years old! doesn't really bother me now tho, turner did a lot for this town. besides, it's on hank aaron drive!

my heigl-lohan girl (who's also latina and half-jewish) (cankles), Friday, 6 February 2009 18:11 (twelve years ago) link

five years pass...

the very same day as canadian icon/rob ford supporter don cherry

mookieproof, Thursday, 6 February 2014 22:10 (seven years ago) link

hank deserves better than to be linked to rob ford in any way

Aimless, Thursday, 6 February 2014 22:14 (seven years ago) link

Hank yesterday, Ruth today.

clemenza, Friday, 7 February 2014 01:54 (seven years ago) link

Maybe this is common knowledge, but I didn't know about it (from David Schoenfield):

What is true, however, is that Mays and Aaron nearly played together. The New York Giants, who already had Mays, were also scouting Aaron, but the Braves reportedly offered $50 more a month, so Aaron signed with them. Think about that on Aaron's 80th birthday.

clemenza, Saturday, 8 February 2014 22:05 (seven years ago) link

Also a red flag to the next team that lets someone walk over an extra $1.7 million more a month.

clemenza, Saturday, 8 February 2014 22:20 (seven years ago) link

"only" 80 -- honestly he seems like he should be pushing 95+ now but he's younger than my grandmother. live forever.

Bringing the mosh (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Sunday, 9 February 2014 00:20 (seven years ago) link

If you had a lineup with Mays, Aaron and McCovey...yikes.

Guy that was really good that I think is forgotten is Eddie Mathews, that guy was a thumping hitter for a 3b. That guy could work a count, he drew a ton of walks. Mathews and Hank Aaron was a pretty fearsome middle of the lineup, really up there with Ruth and Gerhig and the really great ones.

earlnash, Sunday, 9 February 2014 19:27 (seven years ago) link

A victim of the Atlanta Icepocalypse -- slipped and fell, had hip surgery last night. I hope he bounces back fully -- any kind of fall and surgical repair is hard rehabbing for an 80-year-old.

lewd, pulsating rhythm 4 lyfe (WilliamC), Saturday, 15 February 2014 22:28 (seven years ago) link

one year passes...

82 today!

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Friday, 5 February 2016 16:22 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

Funky bday to the legendary Henry Aaron, shown here in 1976 schooling Julius "Dr. J" Erving on the Magnavox Odyssey home video game system. pic.twitter.com/rGhAsQxder

— Dan Epstein (@BigHairPlasGras) February 5, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 5 February 2019 19:22 (two years ago) link

sometimes i look at his stats and just boggle, i mean he never had a singular all-time season like a lot of absolute inner-circle HOFers, he just was so consistent for two decades without a decline and he was good at *everything*. Well, maybe not an all-time defender but that type of thing from that era might be tough to pin down.

omar little, Tuesday, 5 February 2019 19:37 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

killed by his second covid shot!

xzanfar, Friday, 22 January 2021 18:10 (eight months ago) link

looking at Aaron's splits vs. HOF pitchers and it turns out he ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner https://t.co/591C3Fsw9i pic.twitter.com/I62HQ8Zciu

— Suss-- 🥌 (@suss2hyphens) January 22, 2021

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 19:57 (eight months ago) link

Wow, RIP. What a legend.

real muthaphuckkin jeez (crüt), Friday, 22 January 2021 20:06 (eight months ago) link

(xpost) Most of them--killed Koufax--but looks like Gibson and Seaver held him in check (and Sutton and Jenkins didn't fare too badly).

clemenza, Friday, 22 January 2021 20:11 (eight months ago) link

.318/.405/.603 in 3567 PA against lefties

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 20:19 (eight months ago) link

.362/.431/.647 against Koufax is boggling.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 22 January 2021 21:17 (eight months ago) link

Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax on Hank Aaron.

🙏 pic.twitter.com/k8VqDC5zra

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 22, 2021

mookieproof, Friday, 22 January 2021 21:58 (eight months ago) link

There's a reader's thread on the Bill James site where they've been cutting some of Aaron's career totals in half to see which players turn up.

Cut his bWAR in half and you roughly get Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas, and Tony Gwynn.

"Players with between 350 and 410 home runs (roughly half of Aaron's 755), plus a batting average over .280, include Duke Snider, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Hank Greenberg."

I'll add a couple myself.

Half his Total Bases: Kirby Puckett, Alan Trammell, Gil Hodges.

Half his RBI: Bill Dickey, Chuck Klein, Jim Edmonds, Will Clark.

clemenza, Thursday, 4 February 2021 13:59 (seven months ago) link

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