Henry!

by on May 17, 2010

@FanApart ‘s submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission.  Autograph and memorabilia seekers will tell you that there is a right way and a wrong way to get the attention of a superstar.  In this story we find out how a 9 year old patiently waited for his opportunity to get the attention of a new Brewer’s Superstar …

In 1975, no one was more excited that Hank Aaron had been traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Milwaukee Brewers than me.  As someone who attended 50-70 games every year at Arlington Stadium, I was excited to see the newly-crowned home run king in person.

Sadly, for whatever reason, I missed seeing Aaron in 1975.  Maybe it’s that my dad had to work or something but it wasn’t until 1976 that I got to see Hank play.  It was early in the season, (actually, it was April 16).  We got to the park early, probably two hours before actual game time.  We sat midway between first base and the foul pole and we had front row seats, right near the Rangers’ bullpen.

An hour and a half before game time, Aaron and a teammate are standing not more than 20 to 25 feet from me.  There are lots of kids around me, clamoring for The Hammer’s attention, yet he pays them none. All around, yells of, “Hey Hank!”, “Hey Aaron!”, “Hey Hammer” – all rang out in a myriad of home run king madness. At age 9 – and having attended more games than any kid I knew – I always felt like I was a pro at things like getting autographs, talking to players or coaxing a free baseball away.  So while these wayward youths around me made virtual jackasses of themselves, I sat there quietly, biding my time.

My dad was curious as to why I was not behaving as the others and I could see his squint and buckled brow.

Hank and his Brewer teammate begin to leave toward their dugout.  There is silence in my section as the peanut gallery all scamper back to their seats.  I take that opportunity to stand up and cup my hands over my mouth, “Henry!” Aaron stops dead in his tracks, turns around and has a large smile on his face and looks at me right in the eye.  He points at me, then turns around and heads to his dugout across the field. Hank almost hit a home run in the game.  I recall quite vividly that he pulled a ball to the 375′ sign in the left-center power alley that pounded off of the wall for an easy double.   I could not help but to cheer for him.

There was no ball or autograph; just a very fond memory of The Hammer and I having a special ballpark moment together.  Something I will carry with me until I am gone.

FanApart

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