Henry Aaron – “The Hammer”


Henry Aaron passed away yesterday.  For baseball nerds like myself I was sad to hear the announcement.  It came on the heels of what has been quite a week.   First, we saw the news that Trump “was gone.”  After four years of tremendous turbulence which saw him contribute to the Republican party losing the House of Representatives, then the Senate and finally the presidency his antics, criminal behavior and abusive personality will undoubtedly make him one of the most memorable boneheads in history.  That same day civility returned as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. 

Larry King RIP

Then this morning we awakened to the news that legendary broadcaster Larry King passed away at 87.  But this post is about Henry Aaron.

The legend of The Hammer

Sports is part of our culture and oftentimes history is made right before our eyes.  Henry Aaron was an unassuming professional athlete.  He was known as “Hank” and later as “The Hammer.”  During his era many great African-American players blossomed and their slugging prowess might have been taken for granted.

Through his career he was not known as a high-profile player.  His first major league team was with the Milwaukee Braves which was considered a small-market franchise.  This more than anything allowed him to fly under the radar as it was not until you analyzed his stats that you realized his greatness.  He played twenty-three years and not once did he go on the DL (disabled list).  There were no pads to protect his body from blazing fast-balls, no batting gloves to protect his hands from being jarred by a batted ball which didn’t connect with the sweet spot of the bat.  He just went and did his job, day in, day out and through it all earned the distinction as the home run king.

The historic 4th Inning

On that Monday night in 1974, I was at the apartment of my buddy Ed Davis.  The Braves were playing our beloved Dodgers and we knew it was a matter of time but we sat in anticipation drinking Schlitz beer.  Just like that, after Al Downing (known as Gentleman Al) let go of the pitch we heard Vin Scully describe the historic moment of 715.

Aaron wound up with a whopping 755 home runs. He became a great ambassador of the game and for his activism in civil rights.  As Atlanta was preparing for the 1996 Olympics, Aaron’s home field, Fulton County stadium was about to be transformed into the main Olympic venue.  We heard that once the games were complete the stadium would be named in honor of him.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  In 2000 I finally got a chance to visit “Turner Field” and while I came for the game as the Braves were hosting the Pirates, I wanted to see the field replication that was embedded into the parking lot.  It featured an accurate layout of the field and had a marker where Aaron’s 755th blast landed.  What a site!  As I went to see the game, I was lucky to catch a home run ball off the bat of a Pirates player.

Turner Field with diamond layout of Fulton County stadium and site where Aaron’s blast landed.

In 2017, Trust Park (Suntrust) became the new home of the Braves.  I was still miffed they moved from “the hood” but I had a trip to Atlanta which coincided with the baseball season and luckily it was a home game.  I organized the trip because I wanted to see long-time Dodger Matt Kemp who had been recently traded to the Braves.  In addition, I wanted to see the much-heralded Hank Aaron statue and other tributes the new stadium featured.  It was quite a site.

Fred at “The Hammer” statue – Trust Park 2017

Aaron’s legacy will be remembered by fans around the globe and known for his humanity and goodwill.

2018 Kingdom Day Parade – a few images


[Los Angeles, CA]   Known as a great city in a huge desert people can count on Los Angeles to offer dry weather.  Such was the case as the nation commemorated Rev., Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on Monday, January 15th.

Organizers of the Kingdom Day Parade delivered another great event which was well received by the community.  In addition to the hundreds of thousands who lined MLK boulevard to see the event live, over 3 million watched on local channel 7 affiliate, KABC-TV.

 

Here are a few images from the successful parade.

 

HBO

  

VIDEO RECAP OF PARADE

http://abc7.com/video/embed/?pid=2948870


The next big event honoring Dr. King will be the 50th Commemoration of his assassination

Los Angeles prepares to lead the way celebrating Dr. King


In just a few days the nation will be honoring the birthday of Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.    On Monday, January 15th in what would have been the 89th birthday of Dr. King, Los Angeles will once again be a leading city as it showcases its 33rd Kingdom Parade.  Actually, starting in 1981 in San Diego, the parade was morphed into the Kingdom Day Parade in 1985.  In addition to the hundreds of thousands who will be lining MLK Blvd., nearly 3 million are expected to watch the parade as KABC-TV will once again broadcast the parade live starting at 11:00am.

 

2018 is a special year when Dr. King’s name is mentioned, as it marks the 50th commemoration of his assassination and many are planning to be in Memphis on April 4th to pay their respect.

(c) fredyt123 photo – all rights reserved

 

To recognize the significance of the Kingdom Day Parade, Senator Kamala Harris will be the Grand Marshall.  Her selection has been met with enthusiasm as many view her as a dynamic politic figure worthy of honoring Dr. King.

United States Senator Kamala Harris – 2018 Kingdom Day Parade Grand Marshall

More information