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Wednesday, April 8

Keep Swinging ~ All About America

Anyone who really knows me, understands that I am a passionate patriot. I love America immensely. It offers freedom, hope and opportunity like no other country in the world. As such, I will be posting All About America every Wednesday, because I am proud to be an American! The content will vary and may include photos, facts, commentary, quotes, excerpts of speeches, etc. I will use different sources and make every attempt to site the source. Sometimes I may offer commentary, other times, if I think the content speaks for itself, I may not. I hope you enjoy All About America as much as I do, and that you’ll come back and visit often. And may God Bless America!

This has been taken from my second favorite book of all time, The American Patriot’s Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. It is filled with tons of amazing information and history, and anyone who loves history or consider themselves to be patriotic, will love this book. I did a full review of this book and if you would like to see it, simply click here.


“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.”

That was Henry Aaron’s approach to baseball and life, especially in the early 1970’s, when “Hammerin’ Hank” was playing for the Atlanta Braves and getting close to overtaking Babe Ruth as the all-time home-run leader. As he grew closer to the record-breaking 715 mark, the hate mail began to arrive, and what should have been the best time of his life turned into an ordeal.

Some people couldn’t stand the thought of a black man taking Ruth’s place as the homerun king. There were thousands of malicious letters. “You will be the most hated man in this country.” “You’re black so you have no business being here.” Even death threats, “I’D LIKE TO KILL YOU!! BANB BANG YOUR DEAD. P.S. It mite happen.”

He just kept swinging through the ugliness, quietly carrying on the work of Jackie Robinson, who had first broken baseball’s color barrier, and taking comfort from the flood of fan mail urging him on.

On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron stepped up to the plate in Atlanta and hammered number 715 over the left centerfield wall. As he rounded the bases, millions of Americans cheered. Few realized the full extent of the gauntlet he’d run. But his dignity and perseverance were evident. President Nixon may have said it best: “When I think of Hank Aaron, I think of power and poise, of courage and consistency. But most of all, I think of a true gentleman, an outstanding citizen. On the field and off, Hank Aaron represents America at its very best.”


Personal Note: I chose this for All About America, because baseball is America’s sport (even if I personally don’t enjoy it). Hank Aaron’s achievement is certainly admirable, but it was the way he handled himself and his humility that truly made him great. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more sports heroes today who could have the above quote applied to them because they live a life of character?

Also, the above quotes from hate mail that Hank Aaron received are posted as is. The grammar errors are not mine. :-)


Billy Coffey said...

Not a baseball fan?! Oh, we might have to work on that.

I live and die with the Yankees, and I was raised on stories of Babe Ruth. But I love Hank Aaron. Love him because of the way he faced all of that adversity and overcame such odds. He's an inspiration no matter what color you happen to be.

And as an aside, I don't think there are many people in this country more intelligent and thoughtful than Bill Bennett.

Terri Tiffany said...

I never realized this is what he had to go through! And I was an adult in the 70s and thought nothing of that. Sometimes we can be so ignorant of stuff going on around us.