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 Hammerin' Hank

An unassuming quiet man from Mobile, Alabama,
He spoke with his bat, his legs, and his arm.
He played the game with consistent professionalism,
Never known for his charisma or his charm.

He broke down barriers as the Braves rose to the top.
His brown eyes staring down the opponents ace,
His compact swing was that of a contact hitter.
For many years he was a target because of his race.

As his strong wrists kept stroking balls out of the yard,
More people were beginning to cautiously eye this man.
Each year he moved closer to the precious record of the Babe,
Without flare, he played America's game with excellence.

Ball after ball escaped the National League ballparks.
Hamerin' Hank moved within reach  of the 714 of Mr. Ruth.
The racial hatred began to get stronger as he crept closer to the King.
His isolation from the turmoil  was interpreted by the press as aloofness.

More hatred was spit at him as everyone now knew what was to be,
As he finished the 1973 season with 713 lifetime homeruns.
This off season was full of terrorism, racism, and just plain hate;
He would always remember  the death threats to him and his loved ones.

Answering the critics in his first at bat in 1974 by jacking number 714.
Then poised for destiny on April 8th, facing Al Downing on the hill;
Hank Aaron blasted the pitch to left for homerun number 715.
A new king of clout had been crowned that night to my personal thrill.

The Babe graciously stepped to the left, and allowed this man his place;
But the cold hatred of the racist south had reared it's ugly head.
Hammerin' Hank conducted business of the field as quietly as before,
When Hank laid down his bat in 1976 the record was put to bed at 755.

5May08
Honoring my childhood favorite ballplayer. With grace, dignity, and
pride he became the King of homeruns. No asterisks needed.


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