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Milwaukee Baseball Greats

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

milwaukee baseball greats

Aaron was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama. Aaron had seven siblings, including Tommie Aaron, who played major-league baseball with him. He appeared briefly in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career.[4] By his final MLB season, Aaron was the last former Negro league baseball player on a major league roster. During his time in Major League Baseball, and especially during his run for the home run record, Aaron and his family endured extensive racist threats.[5] His experiences fueled his activism during the civil rights movement.[6]

While he was born in a section of Mobile referred to as "Down the Bay", he spent most of his youth in Toulminville. Aaron grew up in a poor family.[11] His family could not afford baseball equipment, so he practiced by hitting bottle caps with sticks. He would create his own bats and balls out of materials he found on the streets.[14] His boyhood idol was baseball star Jackie Robinson.[15] Aaron attended Central High School[b] as a freshman and a sophomore. Like most high schools, they did not have organized baseball, so he played outfield and third base for the Mobile Black Bears, a semipro team.[18] Aaron was a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

Considerably later in his career, Aaron coined "Stone-fingers", which would prove a popular handle for one of baseball's more colorful characters, the famously distance-hitting but defensively challenged first baseman Dick Stuart,[43] reportedly "delight[ing]" even its recipient.[44]

Aaron himself downplayed the "chase" to surpass Babe Ruth, while baseball enthusiasts and the national media grew increasingly excited as he closed in on the 714 career home runs record. Aaron received thousands of letters every week during the summer of 1973, including hate mail; the Braves ended up hiring a secretary to help him sort through it.[59]

Is this to be the year in which Aaron, at the age of thirty-nine, takes a moon walk above one of the most hallowed individual records in American sport ...? Or will it be remembered as the season in which Aaron, the most dignified of athletes, was besieged with hate mail and trapped by the cobwebs and goblins that lurk in baseball's attic?[63]

What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron ... And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months.[70]

On May 1, 1975, Aaron broke baseball's all-time RBI record, previously held by Ruth with 2,213. That year, he also played in his last and 24th All-Star Game (25th All-Star Game selection[47]); he lined out to Dave Concepción as a pinch-hitter in the second inning. This All-Star Game, like the first one he played in 1955, was before a home crowd at Milwaukee County Stadium.[78]

In December 1980, Aaron became senior vice president and assistant to the Braves' president.[31] He was the corporate vice president of community relations for Turner Broadcasting System, a member of the company's board of directors, and the vice president of business development for The Airport Network.[31] On January 21, 2007, Major League Baseball announced the sale of the Atlanta Braves. In that announcement, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also announced that Aaron would be playing a major role in the management of the Braves,[82] forming programs through major league baseball that will encourage the influx of minorities into baseball.[83] Aaron founded the Hank Aaron Rookie League program.[84]

During the 2006 season, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth and moved into second place on the all-time home run list, attracting growing media coverage as he drew closer to Aaron's record. Playing off the intense interest in their perceived rivalry, Aaron and Bonds made a television commercial that aired during Super Bowl XLI, shortly before the start of the 2007 baseball season, in which Aaron jokingly tried to persuade Bonds to retire before breaking the record.[85][non-primary source needed] As Bonds began to close in on the record during the 2007 season, Aaron let it be known that, although he recognized Bonds' achievements, he would not be present when Bonds broke the record.[86] There was considerable speculation that this was a snubbing of Bonds based on the widespread belief that Bonds had used performance-enhancing drugs and steroids to aid his achievement. However, some observers looked back on Aaron's personal history, pointing out that he had downplayed his own breaking of Babe Ruth's all-time record and suggesting Aaron was simply treating Bonds in a similar fashion. In a later interview with Atlanta sportscasting personality Chris Dimino, Aaron made it clear his reluctance to attend any celebration of a new home run record was based upon his personal conviction that baseball is not about breaking records, but simply playing to the best of one's potential.[86] After Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th home run on August 7, 2007, Aaron made a surprise appearance on the JumboTron video screen at AT&T Park in San Francisco to congratulate Bonds on his accomplishment:

I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career home run leader. It is a great accomplishment that required skill, longevity, and determination. Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historical achievement. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.[87]

Aaron's autobiography, I Had a Hammer was published in 1990. The book's title is a play on his nickname, "The Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", and the title of the folk song "If I Had a Hammer". Aaron owned Hank Aaron BMW of south Atlanta in Union City, Georgia, where he included an autographed baseball with every car sold.[88] Aaron also owned Mini, Land Rover, Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda dealerships throughout Georgia, as part of the Hank Aaron Automotive Group. Aaron sold all but the Toyota dealership in McDonough in 2007. Additionally, Aaron owned a chain of 30 restaurants around the country.

In 1999, major league baseball created the Hank Aaron Award, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Aaron's surpassing of Babe Ruth's career home run mark of 714 home runs and to honor Aaron's contributions to baseball.[122] The award is given annually to the baseball hitters voted the most effective in each respective league. That same year, baseball fans named Aaron to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.[123] In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Aaron on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.[124]

The Elite Development Invitational, a youth baseball tournament organized by the Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association to increase diversity in the sport, was renamed the Hank Aaron Invitational for the 2019 season.[148]

Sept. 14, 2011MILWAUKEE - Sixteen former and current University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball players spent the summer on the diamond, playing at various levels across the nation. Panther alums Chad Pierce and Cole Kraft played at the professional level, while 14 players spent time in a mixture of summer college leagues. That group included: Paul Hoenecke, Greg Blohowiak, Mark Strey, Jordan Guth, Gunnar Eastman, Jim Lundstrom, Jonathan Capasso, Tell Taylor, Ryan Solberg, Derek Peake, Cale Tassi, Will Fadness, Drew Pearson and Jake Long.After being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, Pierce spent the summer with the Helena Brewers, the team's rookie affiliate in Montana. He went 2-4 in 15 games, making five starts. In 39.1 innings, Pierce recorded 33 strikeouts.Kraft spent all season in Pomona, New York, with the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League. He batted .281 in 49 games despite playing through injury. He ended the season hitting safely in 10 of the final 13 games, going 10-for-19 (.526) over the last five contests. He scored 22 runs and had 45 hits (11 for extra bases) and drove in 26.A group of five played in the Northwoods League, a summer baseball league comprised of teams of the top college players from across the nation. Hoenecke, Blohowiak and Eastman were on the roster of the Green Bay Bullfrogs, Strey played for the Wisconsin Rapids Rattlers and Guth pitched for the La Crosse Loggers.Hoenecke missed some time after coming back from the hand injury that ended his 2011 season at UWM but batted .322 in 40 games. He recorded 46 hits, 24 runs scored, 10 doubles, nine home runs while also droving in 24 runs. Blohowiak went 1-1 in five games, recording a 4.77 ERA in 5.2 innings. Eastman was also a late addition, going 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three games, striking out four batters in 6.2 innings.Guth was 0-1 in four games for the Loggers, but did strike out 10 batters over 8.1 innings of work. Strey batted .250 in 18 games, accumulating 13 hits and 10 runs batted in.Lundstrom, Capasso and Taylor all spent the summer on the same team in Pennsylvania, helping the Slippery Rock Sliders to a second-half title and a 29-26 record overall. Lundstrom played in 49 games, scoring 20 runs while adding 34 hits. Capasso batted .299 overall, appearing in 51 games. He scored 19 runs, had 58 hits, drove in 24, walked 22 times and also stole nine bases. Taylor had his season cut short with injury, posting 16 hits and scoring nine runs in 19 games. Additionally, he did not commit a single error on defense.Four members of the 2012 roster played in the Wisconsin State League, with Solberg and Peake leading the Sheboygan A's to a playoff berth and Tassi and Fadness playing for the Eau Claire Cavaliers.Solberg was one of the leading hitters for the A's, batting .281 with 20 runs, 41 hits and 25 RBI in 43 games. Peake hit .275, scoring 18 runs in 38 games. He also had 33 hits, 12 RBI and stole nine bases in 10 attempts.Tassi had a solid season on the hill for the Cavs, going 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in six games. He made five starts, ending the season with 28.0 innings. He had am impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio of 23-to-8 and limited opponents to a .221 average. Fadness was a big part of the offense, batting .323 in 45 games, scoring 25 runs, 40 hits, four home runs, 31 RBI, a .508 slugging percentage and a .417 on-base percentage.Pearson played for the Licking County Settlers in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, in Newark, Ohio. The team went 29-11, with Pearson appearing in 31 games. He had 22 hits, nine RBI and scored seven runs. Long played for the Marshfield Chaparrals, with the team going 17-10 this past summer. He was 2-1 in six games, all starts, with an impressive 0.28 ERA. Also included in his stat line was a .193 opponent batting average, 27 strikeouts and just one walk. 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