Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America by Tom Stanton

By Tom Stanton

Baseball has witnessed greater than 125,000 major-league domestic runs. Many have altered the results of video games, and a few, swatted into the stands on dramatic final swings, have made up our minds pennants and gained reputations. yet no domestic run has performed a extra major function in influencing American society than Hank Aaron's 715th. Aaron's ancient blast -- and the yearlong quest prime as much as it -- not just shook baseball however the international at huge. It uncovered prejudice, energized a flagging civil rights circulation, encouraged a new release of kids, and likewise referred to as forth the darkish demons that haunted Aaron's each step and grew to become what must have been a joyous pursuit right into a hellish nightmare. In Hank Aaron and the house Run that modified the USA, Tom Stanton, writer of the prize-winning the ultimate Season, penetrates the burnished fable of Aaron's chase and uncovers the compelling tale at the back of the main consequential athletic success of the earlier fifty years. the story occurs in the course of tumultuous occasions, the years of 1973 and 1974, because the Watergate scandal unfolds and the Vietnam conflict sputters to an finish. it is the period of Ali and Archie Bunker, of Wounded Knee and Patty Hearst, of Roe v. Wade and Billie Jean King as opposed to Bobby Riggs, of oil shortages, and of a state being affected by deep divisions. on the middle of the social hurricane stands a personal, dignified guy -- Hank Aaron -- who rises to just accept the mantle of his lately deceased idol, Jackie Robinson, and turns into emboldened through the aim of his venture: to wreck the list of sport's maximum legend, Babe Ruth, not just for himself yet for the development of all African american citizens and for the nice of his nation. alongside the best way, Aaron endures bigots, zealous fanatics, hate mail, FBI investigations, bodyguards, the ambivalence of his followed homeland, a batting droop not like the other, the sniping reviews of Babe Ruth's widow, the slights of baseball's commissioner, a string of controversies, and relentless threats to his and his kid's lives. the tale incorporates a wealthy solid of characters: a pal and someday rival, Willie Mays, who needs to come to phrases with the tip of his personal occupation; Aaron's hard-as-iron protector, supervisor Eddie Mathews; a tender, confident, sometimes cocky prot?g?, Dusty Baker; a destiny president, Jimmy Carter; a preacher of emerging prominence, the Reverend Jesse Jackson; stars like Willie Stargell and Tom Seaver; and a roster of both colourful, lesser-known friends. yet on the middle of the narrative is Hank Aaron, a category participant who refused to preen at domestic plate or strut shamelessly round the bases at the same time he reached the top of the nationwide hobby. 3 many years later, Tom Stanton brings to existence on those pages the elusive spirit of an American hero.

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Extra resources for Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America

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But the pivotal moment came when Baker’s mother, Christine, sought a pledge from Aaron. She worried about Dusty playing in the South and asked Aaron a favor. Would he watch over Dusty as if he were his own son? If Aaron, as the defending National League home-run champion, felt the request out of line, he did not let on. He simply agreed to keep an eye on Dusty, and Baker and his mother signed a contract with the Braves—against the wishes of his father, who contested in court. The battle prompted Dusty to cut his father from his life.

At Wrigley Field, fans stood amid the box seats behind the dark brick wall and between and around the dugouts to watch Hank Aaron take batting practice on a Saturday. Aaron stepped 52 To m S t a n t o n into the cage. But before he managed a swing, the spectators did something they rarely did at batting practice. They cheered. He hadn’t yet hit the ball and they were cheering. Those who had been seated stood and applauded. It was spontaneous, unprovoked, and genuine. Aaron popped some balls into left field before depositing one among the bleacher bums beyond the ivy-covered outfield wall.

Soon, he was toying with the wilder side of the ball-playing life. ” He and Barbara divorced quietly in February 1971. The children continued to live with their mother. To escape the pain of being separated from them, Aaron immersed himself in his work—baseball—and hit more home runs than he ever had before. Aaron’s four children were never far from his mind. He talked to them almost daily. In 1973, the oldest, Gaile, was studying journalism in college. , and Lary, were attending Marist High, a Catholic school where they played sports, and, like youngest daughter Dorinda, living in Atlanta.

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