These are the memories that came to mind today. I join with other villagers in wishing a blessed 77th birthday to Henry Louis Aaron. He was born on this date in 1934.
Read a great historical view of Aaron's childhood and baseball career here on the African American Registry. One aspect of his career that inspired me occurred early in his career:
After only a short time in the Negro Leagues, the Milwaukee Braves recruited Aaron. He joined the Braves' system in 1952 and was sent to the minor leagues. There he became one of the first Black players to break the color line in the Deep South; a dangerous proposition in the last, desperate days of segregation that was legally enforced by Jim Crow laws. After one season in Wisconsin, Aaron found himself playing for a Jacksonville, Florida team in the South Atlantic League. Fans insulted him constantly, and even some of his teammates hurled racial slurs at him. Hotels and restaurants were closed to him because he was Black. The situation was only tolerable because Aaron showed such talent and because he was young. Somehow the heightened tension inspired Aaron. During his year with the South Atlantic League, he led the circuit in batting average, doubles, runs scored, total bases and runs batted in. He was voted League Most Valuable Player for 1953.
Hank Aaron has been a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1982.