Hank: The Early Years
Anticipation of Henry‘s arrival in the spring of 1954 was heightened by the fact that no one, apart from the Milwaukee scouts, minor-league personnel, and occasionally the owner, Lou Perini, or the general manager, John Quinn, had actually ever seen him play. He was famous, mostly, in the Braves anticipation of him, but his fame stemmed from the exotic, sumptuous ingredients that were critical to the baseball publicity machine: dewdrop reports from the bird-dog scouts, who, in turn, whetted the appetite of fans and management alike. “Any amount you ask for that kid Henry Aaron in right field wouldn’t be too much,” exuded Red Sox scout Ted McGrew. Word of mouth traveling from exuberant minor-league coaches and managers (HANK AARON IS FABULOUS FELLOW, SAYS FORMER PILOT BEN GERAGHTY read a March 1954 Milwaukee Journal headline) and sports writers (“If Aaron is 75 percent as good as the glowing reports about him, he will be worth keeping around for pinch hitting, if nothing else,” R. G. Lynch wrote in the Journal a full month before spring camp opened) only increased the anticipation. But so much of it was more talk about the latest next big thing, just word of mouth, just so many words on paper.