Hammerin' Hank
posted: August 15, 2007
A very wise man once said “ Bonds is a jerk, a liar, and an ass”.

I’m a little late, but I thought I’d honor Barry Bonds surpassing Henry Aaron’s all time home run record with a tip the pencil to Hammerin’ Hank himself.

Maybe it’s that Hank was of the Ali/ Kennedy/Beatles era of relative innocence that we see him as one of our morally uncontaminated American heroes.  It seems easier to put the celebrities of back in the day up on a pedestal. Maybe it’s because the media wasn’t as voracious in its appetite for fresh blood every day. Maybe the country still believed in itself with the afterglow of World War II still in sight.  The truth is, there aren't many people who can hold up under the intense scrutiny we bring to bear, and the image of our old time heroes are akin to the nostalgic way we look back at our childhood, when everything was "better".  It's all bullshit, of course.

Where was I?

I confess to not knowing much about Aaron past the home runs, the gracious demeanor, and that he was in that first wave a black ballplayers who were finally allowed to play outside the Negro League. While today's pro atheletes are suspected of enhancement through pharmacological alleyways, Aaron was said to have gained his enormous forearm strength by carrying ice blocks with tongs while growing up. However he got to where he was, he sure could hit 'em out of the park.
Harry Campbell August 15, 2007
Dale, Nice work. I remember as a kid walking through the woods back from school with a small paperback bio of Hank Aaron. Can't recall much of it but Hank was definitely a stand up no BS guy. Indeed came out of the Negro Leagues as a lover of baseball and man what he could do with finesse, all in the wrist, no pumping of iron necessary. I don't follow much baseball now but coaching my young sons little league team. Our little league teams wore the Negro League jerseys this past season, partly out of respect and partly because the licensing fees charged by MLB to use their names was outrageous and unaffordable to a small rec league like ours. Boy, am I ranting! We do indeed now live in such a strange culture where humiliation is entertainment, personal lives are no longer personal etc. etc. Hey everybody, throw your TV's out the window and join me on a cross country bike ride to discover if America has any good in it. What do you say.
Harry Campbell August 15, 2007
Oh yes, we had two players from teh old Negro League speak. I should remember their names but shamefully I don't. One guy was from the Baltimore Elite Giants, and that is pronounced E-lite. These guys were so inspirational to the kids, no name guys playing because they loved it. Their stories were so moving, how they were treated, how Jackie Robinson was chosen etc. Boy would I have loved to be in the seats at one of those games.
Dale Stephanos August 16, 2007
Harry, thanks for the story, that's great stuff. I love the idea of using Negro League jerseys. Those guys should be recognized more than they are.