Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Henry Aaron Gives Thanks for Memories

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Henry Aaron Gives Thanks for Memories

Article excerpt

Henry Aaron, wearing his typical wide-eyed look even behind glasses, admired new-look Busch Stadium the other day, remembering the face-lifted field of his past, Sportsman's Park and his brilliant career. And, of course, Red Schoendienst.

"I'm here,"said the champion career home-run hitter, 755, "because Red won the pennants for us for a couple of years. The day John Quinn got him for us from New York, we celebrated in the clubhouse."

Aaron, at 62, is a Turner Company Broadcasting executive who spends more time with Ted's Atlanta empire rather than the world champion baseball Braves. When the baseball's original nomads won their previous World Series, 1957, they operated out of Milwaukee.

Although, as suggested, Schoendienst was the missing piece to the puzzle, Aaron actually hit the home run that clinched the pennant over the second-place Cardinals in late September. The homer was the first and only allowed that season by a brilliant Redbird reliever, Billy Muffitt.

St. Louis has an important place in the milestone of the willowy righthanded-hitting Aaron. He got his first hit off the Cardinals' Vic Raschi in his second big-league game, 1954, at Milwaukee and then hit his first of 755 home runs off the same pitcher here the following week.

By his 20th season, aged 40, Aaron climbed batting's Mt. Everest early in '74, then returned to close out his career in the American League with the Brewers in '76. By then, 42, he had become a designated hitter, but through virtually all of his 23 seasons, he not only was consistent in games played and in hitting the long ball, but Henry Louis Aaron was one of baseball's best all-round players.

Easy does it, gracefully running with short, choppy strides, Aaron actually was underrated, but not underpaid for his time. Fact is, when he closed out his career with the Brewers in '76, he was paid $240,000. At the time before free agency soared salaries, Aaron and the Chicago White Sox's Richie Allen were the only two $200,000-plus plauers.

For Aaron, it was a long way from the skinny Mobile boilermaker's son who left town to join the Indianapolis Clowns of the old Negro National League at 19. …

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