The Chris Voss Show Podcast – Home Run King: The Remarkable Record of Hank Aaron by Dan Schlossberg

Home Run King: The Remarkable Record of Hank Aaron by Dan Schlossberg

In the fifty years that have passed since Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run and supplanted Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king, his legend and legacy have only grown. Humble and modest to a fault, he always insisted that he didn’t want people to forget Babe Ruth but only to remember Henry Aaron. Though he never had the benefit of playing in the media spotlight of New York or Los Angeles, he remains the career leader in total bases, runs batted in, and All-Star selections; shares records for home runs by brothers (with Tommie Aaron) and by teammates (with Eddie Mathews); and is remembered with respect and admiration for his outspoken advocacy of civil rights for all minorities.

Written by a lifelong Braves fan who became a sportswriter, this book traces Aaron’s odyssey from the segregated south to the baseball world revolutionized by Jackie Robinson, who became an early an important ally against bigotry and prejudice. It reveals how the New York Giants nearly beat the Boston Braves in signing Aaron, when the young slugger caught his first break, and why he changed his hitting style after the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta. Though he never won a Triple Crown or hit for the cycle, he won virtually every major honor, including an MVP award, a World Series ring, and a berth in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But he should have won more, as the author contends he was often taken for granted by voters (nine of whom left him off their Cooperstown ballots!).

Turn these pages to find out what home run Aaron considered his greatest, what pitcher proved his easiest mark, and what managers he liked or disliked the most. Even the disappointments are included — his team’s move south, its inability to establish a dynasty, and his quests to become a manager, general manager, or even Commissioner of Baseball. This is also a book of personal tragedy: the death of a child, a difficult divorce, and the stunning loss of the 43-year-old brother-in-law who became the first black GM. Not to mention the deluge of hate mail as it became obvious that he was approaching the most cherished record in sports.

Through it all, Henry Louis Aaron kept his composure, preferring to let his bat do the talking. He lacked the notoriety of Willie, Mickey & the Duke but he just might have been the best player in baseball history. He’s certainly in the conversation.