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.

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11 Comments on Hank: The Early Years

  1. Viva Rufino Linares! // May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm //

    That sounds a lot like what we heard about Jay Hay. I’m looking forward to this book, a great deal. Has anyone read Pete Van Wieren’s book yet?

  2. williemontanez // May 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm //

    I just got finished reading Pete’s book. If you are a fan of Braves history, it is worth reading, but I think he spent too much of the book describing what the team actually did on the field.

    I look forward to reading the Hank book. I was in Borders yesterday, but they did not have it out yet.

  3. PepeFreeUs // May 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm //

    I got a “Shipped” notification for my copy of “The Last Hero” from QPB yesterday. I pre-ordered it @ five weeks go.

    Maybe, one of these days, people will wake up and realize not only that he was a far greater and more complete player than most fans believe, but is one hell of a man in the bargain.

  4. Roadrunner // May 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm //

    I agree with Willie. More behind the scenes would have been nice. It’s pretty bland, actually. It’s Pete Van Wieren, after all.

  5. Viva Rufino Linares! // May 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm //

    Thanks for the tips on Pete’s book. I still grab a copy for my collection. Now, a book written by Skip…..that I would have waited in line for.

  6. atlpaddy // May 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm //

    Darn. I was looking forward to some of Pete’s more salacious stories of partying down with with Steve Bartkowski and the ladies at the Riverbend Apartments.

  7. PepeFreeUs // May 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm //

    Does he give a definitive account of the Great Horner Golfcart Incident?

  8. Roadrunner // May 13, 2010 at 7:14 am //

    Nope. Horner only gets passing mention.

  9. clete boyer fan // May 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm //

    I Had a Hammer was a wonderful autobiography; I’m looking forward to this work about my childhood hero.

    Rufino, the only bit of literature by Skip Carey that I know of is a book he co-authored with Don Farmer called “Roomies”. It was published sometime in the mid 90’s. I’m pretty sure you can find it from an online used book store for around a dollar.

  10. PepeFreeUs // May 13, 2010 at 11:14 pm //

    “I Had a Hammer” is a fabulous book. His earlier book with Bisher, which was originally titled “Aaron, RF” and then was retitled to something I can’t remember when it was revised and reissued, is also interesting.

  11. Roadrunner // May 14, 2010 at 11:22 am //

    Eddie Mathews came out with an autobiography about 15 years ago that’s terrific. there are some great stories about his days as a manager.

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