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Hank Aaron on Sacrificing for Others

No matter where I go, someone is bound to ask me if I think I will break Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs. The Babe is a legend now. He created more excitement than any player who ever lived.

What I find so hard to believe is that Hank Aaron, a nobody from Mobile, Alabama, is really the first player in 40 years to challenge that home-run record. Who am I to be in this position? How did it come about?

Well, I sure didn’t make it on my own. There were a number of people who helped me at crucial times. And because of those people I’ve tried to live my life a certain way during my 21-year career in baseball.

My parents were strict with us kids. We had rules, we did chores and we all went to the Baptist church every Sunday.

There were plenty of spankings too. When I was 15 I was once offered two dollars to play baseball on Sunday afternoon. I turned it down. I knew  Mama would never allow me to play ball on a Sunday.

My father, Herbert Aaron, was a boilermaker’s helper in a ship-building company and worked long hours to feed and clothe his wife and six children. He didn’t have much time to play ball or talk to us, but when he did, it meant something.

Like the time I skipped school to listen to the Brooklyn Dodgers game at the local poolroom. For some reason he got off early that day and saw me there. He didn’t get mad; he just crooked his finger at me to walk home with him.

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