#44 Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron February 5,1934 – January 22, 2021

The Passing Of A National Treasure

1/22/21 = 44 Coincidence? Nope, That’s Grace.

Greetings sports fans and welcome back to still another uncensored (for now?) edition of Vegas Valley Sports Beat that non-fattening, low carb column that dares to say yes dear your ass does indeed make those jeans look fat. My Mama raised a fool but she didn’t give it my name.  Cough cough, Richard, cough cough.

And now, ladies and gentlemen would you please rise to your feet and remove your hats. Place them over your hearts please, and bow your heads in prayerful respect. Let Taps ring out across this blessed land and across the world. Let all peoples be silent and still if only for a moment, to remember this day with pride, love, and the highest honor. Let America’s Honor Gaurd lower the American flag to half-mast, and direct the drum and bugle corps beat the drums slowly, and play the pipes lowly. A true American hero, a legend among legends has passed away today leaving the world in mourning. His name was Hammerin’ Hank Arron and he was a man who stood tall when other’s would have him bow down.

** FILE ** Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron eyes the flight of the ball after hitting his 715th career homer in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta, Ga., in this April 8, 1974 file photo. Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, catcher Joe Ferguson and umpire David Davidson look on. (AP Photo/Harry Harrris)
Going, going, gone.

Some of you might not even know his name or who Henry Arron was but I was a kid when Hank broke not only Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record of 714. A record that everyone thought would, some even said should never be broken by a negro league baseball player. Both notions were actually scoffed at openly. How else would a kid like me being in grade school be aware of it if it wasn’t true?

But God is always good and He had His own plans for Henry Aaron. He put Hank in the right place at the right time and he never looked back because he was looking forward when he hit a home run in his first-time at-bat. Then he did it again when he stepped into the batter’s box the next time and the rest is one of the most outstanding chapters in the annals of American and human history.

I still remember that sentiment being expressed by some people back then, and I’ve never understood it beyond the fact that I know it’s sick and wrong. Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron stood up for what he knew was right and he not only pursued his dreams fearlessly, but he ran them down until he caught up to them and when he got his shot, Henry Aaron knocked them all right out of the ballpark and wrote his own name amongst the stars.

Thanks to MLB for fair use.  All their rights are preserved.
Now the pitcher holds the ball, now he lets it go. Now the air is shattered by the force of Henry’s blow. #714

With quiet pride, class, and dignity he stepped up to the plate and let his actions speak for him while everyone around him chattered hate speech like hypertensive harpies. He retained his composure to the end.  They called him Pork Chop and he was a  gentleman’s gentleman whom we should remember with the highest honor, love, and respect for his humanity, and the grace of God that he embodied by the life that he lived and the lives that he touched so deeply.

https://www.mlb.com/video/aaron-on-hank-aaron-way-in-fl 

Henry Aaron shattered the last tile holding together the racial ceiling in professional baseball that nobody in their right mind would even try to deny was prevalent back then. He helped pave the way for those persons of color that followed in his footsteps.

Even in the 1970s when hippies were everywhere. So were the racists and they will always be there but who gives a rats ass about them anyway? In my mind, Hank Aaron stands out amongst the greatest human beings to ever put on a uniform of any kind as a real larger than life hero. Although my heart is heavy at his passing, I’m not sad to see Hank Aaron go. I thank God that such a man lived. I pray that there are many more men like him still, and many more like him still to come.

Hank Aaron sends the Cardinal’s pennant hopes over the centerfield wall before going on to win the 1957 World Series with the Atlanta Braves.

Oh somewhere in this favored land, the sun is shining bright, a band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light. Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout, but there is no joy in Mudville, Henry Aaron has struck out.

God bless you and keep you in Heavenly peace, Hank.