Hour 2: Remembering Hank Aaron
The max kellerman show the podcast needed just one more time bay route in to to break the record and of course throughout that entire time. He was subjected to death. Threats to racism is one of the most important people who ever played the game of baseball in our country and one of the most underrated baseball players of all time. That's right underrated as the home. Run champ. I you know anyone who seriously considered barry bonds the cheater a homerun champ get out of here. Bonds was one of the greatest players who ever lived before the juice but then at the age of thirty five in six weeks he put on thirty of lean muscle his head forehead triples and size and his home runs at-bat ratio doubles at the age of thirty five. Get outta here. Get all the way out of you. It's laughable and maguire and so so the three of them can all take a hike hank aaron clean seven fifty five and he did it at a time when seven hundred fifteenth home run. Baseball was still the number one sport in america head of football and basketball and by the way through his career in the fifties and sixties baseball so much bigger than football and basketball. It's embarrassing the nfl's number one and his baseballer mba number two know it was like the base baseball's number one through ten and no one cared about the nfl or nba compared to baseball not close the economy of baseball's much bigger march more fan interest. They were much bigger celebrities in the popular imagination. Right what what football figure from the nineteen fifties was as big as like mickey mantle. Or willie mays and the thing hank. Aaron played his career in the shadows of willie mays and mickey mantle mays in particular because they're both in the national league came up three years before hank aaron by the way only four years and hank aaron seven years after jackie robinson was the first black player in the major leagues till nineteen forty seven. The white power structure kept black. People out of baseball. Jackie robinson broke in nineteen forty seven seven years later the four years later he comes willie mays and seven years later three years after. May's here comes. Hank aaron but willie mays was the guy. It's not unlike when when nine hundred sixty one roger maris and mickey mantle where both chasing babe ruth's single season home run record and people wanted mantle to break it because he looked like the heir apparent and when marriage broke it they almost got mad at him and i think hank aaron like people saw willie mays and willie mays was one of those guys. They said that might be the best baseball player of all time right. That guy was great but it wasn't a center. Fielder like mazey's right field. He wasn't quite as dynamic players. Willie mays never fifty home runs in a season willie. Mays was loomed larger in the public consciousness. And all hank. Aaron did with show up every year and hit forty five home runs so eventually but but like at when he plays in the shadow of willie mays and mickey mantle and and He wasn't ever considered like that's the best player in the game. One year. He won the mvp and eventually when he breaks the record. Though you have to understand that the the moment has there ever. Cal ripken broke lou. Gehrig's record a huge deal with pete. Rose broke ty cobb's hit record huge deal but the homerun means something different that is uniquely american symbol of power and success. You go to a business meeting. I hit home run right like everyone knows what that means and babe. Ruth was deci con in american sports. Unlike any other and hank aaron when he broke that record there's not been a record before or since in a history of american team sports that comes close to it so he's known as the homerun champ but he's become underrated almost as a result of that because everyone knows he didn't break the home run record because yet sixty or fifty home runs he just he was. He set a standard of excellence. Forty home runs every year practically for twenty three seasons. So it's like yeah. He's a homerun champ but he did it over time. It was like compilation compiler this as a home run shabby people. Miss the picture with with hank. Hank aaron if you took away every home run he ever hit is a first ballot hall of famer over three thousand. Hits with a great defensive. Right fielder. a great base runner. An excellent steeler clutch hitter at three sixty two and seventy four postseason appearances including slugging seven. Ten won gold gloves won the batting title twice lifetime. Total base leader by as ralph wiley pointed out twelve miles of cases. Over number two stan. Musial he's actually become underrated hank aaron just as a player. I have to tell you. The check out marvel studios wanda vision original series now streaming only on disney plus bob kendrick president of the negro leagues joins me. Now on the goodyear hotline. Hey bob let's go on. Hey man it's a pleasure. Thanks for having me on show for coming on. you know. It's funny because there so many great negro league players through the years and it's impossible to know like is that i guess i would guess that josh gibson's probably the greatest catcher of all time considering roy campanella who was every bit as good as yogi berra. Johnny bench said everything he could do. Josh gibson could do better in the negro leagues. So i'm willing to think he's an oscar charleston. According to bill. James and some others is way up there with center fielder willie mays mickey mantle ty cobb charleston's with those guys put in hank aaron's case not by a lot of years because he breaks in and fifty four in the color line was broken in forty seven and hank's avarice case. We don't have to guess we know he's the greatest lifetime home run hitter of all time. What can you tell me about hank. Aaron and i think your perspective is what. I try to get people to understand when they come and visit the negro leagues baseball museum. Because if we saw henry aaron's numbers thirty years from now somebody wouldn't believe that they would have never believed it. And it's the same way with john gibson and when we tell people that he was so prestigious. It's power and that kind of thing they don't believe it. But here's this kid from mobile alabama who comes to the indianapolis clowns max when he was eighteen years old. He's a skinny cross handed hitting shortstop. Yeah by the way. I want everyone to hear what what what bob kendrick. The president of the negro leagues baseball museum. Right now is saying cross-handed hank aaron think about if you're a right handed hitter your right. Hand is on top of your left hand on the bat. Hank aaron criss cross. That came with his left hand on top of his right hand actually hit that. Yeah not only web you know in the field is that you break wrist hitting in that manner. Well henry aaron is mocking the cover off the baseball in a highly an orthodox fashion when he gets to the clowns. They quit right hand on top the indianapolis clowns they get they put right here on top and the rest of we say is history but for me here at the naval museum. I walk to a photograph of him. Standing at the train station and mobile alabama. He's eighteen years old about embark on that journey to go join the indianapolis clowns and all he has is a duffel bag and he told me he says. Bob inside is bad may have had to change clothes. A dollar fifty cents in my pocket and a ham sandwich that my momma had made me going to go chase that drink and when he was leaving mobile max he didn't know if he was leaving to go play with kids his own age or grown men. But as you well know he was going to go play with grown men and those men of the indianapolis clowns took him under their wing and they nurtured him and then henry and was shortly there after. Leave to go. Join the boston braves. Who would become the walkie braves. Who has we all well know became the atlanta braves. And he'll go down in his game one of his all time greatest players but as i heard you kind of rolling off at me of his great accomplishments as baseball player because you could never reduce him to just being a home run hitter. The homerun just kind of happened. Seven fit five. Good just kind of happen. You know we're hitting the league fifty eight one year. He won gold gloves. He stole thirty bases any year. He stole over two hundred forty basis. Better two three two one the success to court ratio. He what he had three sixty two in the playoffs. I mean this dude. And he did his mac and i tell people all the time. You can't underestimate what is meant. He's did is carrying a race of people on his shoulder. You see all those other players who transitioned from the negro leagues into the major league. They felt that weight. They knew they had to be probably want to ask you about that. Actually curious about this as you're as you're talking about it now i imagined you know. Clubhouse is what they are human nature what it is in the negro leagues you mentioned. They nurtured him. The clowns nurtured him. They they sent him on his way. And i'm sure in many respects for many of them. His success represented an ability to rise up to get out of segregation in a sense because the league grew segregated and to make it to the big time right in that sense african-american athletes particularly then had the responsibility. The weight of oven oppressed race on their on their doors. On the other hand i wonder human nature what it is in of the crabs in a bucket mentality. Were there ever. You're aware any older teammates. Who may have been jealous or or a kind of cranky about it. Because they never got the opportunity that hank aaron was gonna get you have professional jealousies in almost every aspect of of life but by and large these players were rooting for henry. Aaron willie mays to succeed so it really was like one of us is getting out and making and making good exactly right and so you know. They knew that they were beyond their prime that their time had passed and how important it was for these other players who did get the opportunity to succeed if anything they may have the meant it the fact that this didn't happen in their prime and so while yeah there were some who kind of wish old man. Why didn't this happen. Guys like ray dandridge who was thirty eight years old when it gets to the minneapolis millers which were the new york. Giants triple eighteen and maxi's names. Mvp of the millers man when he was thirty eight hundred right but he never had a chance of satchel paige satchel page was was forty six and he he had a array as as as i think he's mostly out of the bullpen but where was he was where where was satchel page at the age of forty six. He had an era in the threes at forty six years old. And and when he gets to the majors with cleveland in nineteen forty. Eight cleveland cleveland. Right four forty two. Yeah he's believed to be forty two at that. If you believe he was born in nineteen sixty absolutely do not believe and he posts egos six and one with a two point four at forty two of possibly do klis how good these guys would as always this skepticism as were saying like josh gibson may have been the greatest catcher of all time satchel page may have been the greatest pitcher. It's impossible to know was page better than sandy. Colfax was gibson better than berra or or johnny bench. Or someone like that but certainly there. They're on that level. But with hank aaron we do know this guy played twenty three seasons where he would hit the third or fourth in any lineup where he is a superb defender base runner high batting average forty plus homerun champ who hits the cover off the ball in the playoffs. Like that's what happened with with hank. Aaron and earlier. Today we've had guests on today here in on. I take earlier in the day. Who were talking about the kind of person. The kind of man hank aaron does and what he meant in the atlanta area. Can you tell me at all about that. 'cause i'm georgia. I grew up in crossville georgia small rural town east of a lot about eighty miles. East of atlanta. I am a life long. Atlanta braves fan. Henry aaron is my all time favorite player and my childhood idol. And so anytime that we were on the playground and you know how to go you on the playground you you become your favorite ballplayer so all. The kids knew that i was going to be here. There was no question about it. Like hey bob always got to be there. That's right. I got to do here. Riera nobody else to be here. And so i get the chance to leave him for the first time in nineteen ninety eight at the all star game and nineteen ninety nine. He makes his first visit to the baseball museum. Now mind you max. We've had american. Presidents visit this museum source. Ladies these united states general colin powell plethora athletes entertainers dignitaries entered with no disrespect to any of them. They're not henry air and then add kids from crawford deal george but you test them something. The humility the humanity that he brought a great the class the dignity in which even going through chasing roofs record this was a tumultuous time for this man family is in hiding. He's got bags and bag of lettuce. That were death threats on his life. And i can tell you this black man in the south at that time. You cannot take these threats. Ideally he'd already seen the king assassinate his john f. kennedy now. It's not just that this is the old days when racist white people could largely get away with until recently much more than they're able to get away with in recent times but considering the time the tar this is. This is not that far removed from a spate. political assassinations. no no and so. This is nineteen seventy four twenty seven years after jackie robinson breaking baseball's color barrier henry. Aaron is enduring the same kind of hatred and vitriol that welcome jackie robinson into the major leagues and yet somehow or another. He found a wherewithal to stay locked in and focus on the crap that hand and we'll themselves get home. Run record out of the way you know you was it meaningful to him like i. I imagine as i was talking earlier in the show. The homerun is uniquely american. Baseball's invented here and and america enjoyed a gemini at least in the western hemisphere for you know a lot of the last century and homerun. You know if you hit a home run in a presentation in a business. Everyone knows what hitting a home run means let alone you know kids. In highschool fooling around like homerun was a big deal in the consciousness of america especially in the twentieth century and for a black man to wrestle that record away from a white guy who also symbolized baseball babe. Ruth was the biggest symbol in the history of baseball What did that mean to hank. Aaron himself like that makes you dude. You're the home run champ of all time you know for the year. Nineteen ninety nine twenty five years after he breaks record man. It took him that long to exhale and celebrate. What many thought to be the most prestigious sports record of all time because it was so painful. And i know you can recall with mark mcgwire and sammy sosa. Had to epic home. Run chase and their children are dead at greet them at home plate. Here is families in hiding. You see what i'm saying real and so you didn't get to celebrate that it was released man that it was old. You know by the way. I didn't have any help. Those guys were inhaling juice. Hank aaron did it in one hundred eighty pounds. He hit those seven hundred and fifty. Five home runs seven fifteen past ruth. Sammy sosa mark mcgwire. I think one of those home runs. When they were rounding first base picked up the bass and took out their stash designing. Those guys will just out of their mouth like when people say now that that that barry bonds is the home run. I'd just honestly never think of him. That way. Always think of hank. Aaron when i think of the home run champ you think about the humility. That hanging demonstrated when barry broke the record. And i know that there was those who wanted him to say something disparaging about about berry and he was just never going to do it. He was never going to be that guy that was going to denigrate another black man no matter what others may have thought and i thought he handle that whole home. Run offense by. Barry was sucked grade class grace and dignity. But that's not a surprise in rare and distributed that all of his life. That was who henry aaron. What he what he sonal five class he really did. And for those putting that pressure on henry aaron to be that negative he was just never going to be and you couldn't help but admire that humility that he demonstrated you know doing that home. Run chase no matter what others may have thought. He refused to go there. Bob kendrick the president of the negro leagues baseball museum. Thank you so much for joining me today. On this sad day of hank aaron's passing one of the greatest baseball players of all time. The home run champ will all time home run champ but really a day also to celebrate his life and achievements. Of course thanks a lot for join me appreciate it is my pleasure. Thank you guys. For remembering i get a friend. Legendary hippie era meantime have now. It's always a hard turn. It's weird on the duma sports radio show and you're talking about hank aaron. On the day he passed away and all the sudden. I got to read you something. But i have to. That's how it goes. Conor mcgregor returns to the octagon tomorrow. Night in a rematch against dust. Emporia at ufc. Two fifty. Seven on espn plus. You have c. Two fifty seven is exclusively available to espn plus subscribers for sixty nine ninety nine visit. Espn plus dot com slash. Ppv lakers still undefeated on the road. Lose back to back. Ad said they're not trying to lose to back to back to beat the box. Have they even hit their stride yet. Though plus michael thompsons claes daddy. Memories of hank. Aaron coming up do you own or rent your home. Sure you do and i bet it can be hard work you know. It's easy bundling policies with geico. Geico makes it easy to bundle your homeowner's or renter's insurance along with your auto policy. It's a good thing too because you already have so much to do around your home. Go to geico dot com dennis quote and see how much you could save. Its gyco easy. Visit geico dot com today. That's geico dot com. Why at one. Sadness dan white once last thing you want running with elite qb's clutch td's then across nova step behind laughing because you danes with thirty east finger. Push does bruce lee showing no mercy. Fat file got the crew on deck. Lebeau knows no one knows goes deeper ones loud. Espn download now. The max kellerman. Show the podcast. Now we have the great michael thompson on the max kellerman show to share some thoughts on the late. Now at this point sadly great hank aaron baseball icon and in my view still the all time. Homerun champ michael are you there. Yes sir. I'm always looking for to talk to you to educate you on all all the sports factors backs michael. What are your thoughts Today when you heard of hank. Aaron's passing i like how you called him. The real home run leader. Listen i'm a big barry bonds. Fan a very special player. But there's a lot of question marks with his seven sixty two. Of course we all know the story about what barry's associated with babe ruth. I don't count anything that happened before. Nineteen forty seven before the integration of baseball as a legitimate sport legitimate records because no latinos asians blacks were allowed to play. So how can those records. It'd be counted They become a day. That was the case in sports. So all those records before. Jackie robinson asterisk but michael. How babe. Ruth's record hank. Aaron broke it not. Well sure if you want to. That's fine a lot of baseball. Historians would say still count even though blacks latinos nations. Were locked to play. So i don't see how that's a legitimate sport like that in any sport so but anyway hiker and a hiking in. What's the last player to be promoted from the negro leagues for the major leagues back door and has a thing of the biggest question. I have about hank. Aaron and his career max kellerman and listeners. After seventy seven hundred fifty five home runs three thousand seven. Three thousand seven and seventy one hits three thousand two hundred ninety eight games played and two thousand two hundred ninety seven total basis. Somebody or some bodies said that. He was not a hall of fame renaissance unanimous hall of fame. I not all michael just said even though it lake. Somebody needs to investigate that michael. What's crazy is hank. Aaron is the all time home. Run record leader. They you said there are question. Marks about barry. No question marks exclamation points to cheated mcgwire. Sosa those guys great first ballot hall of famer before we ever cheated so he should be in the hall of fame but get outta here. That home run record. Here's the thing about hank. Aaron all time home. Run record right if you took away every single home run ever hit. He's a first ballot hall of famer. The man still would have had over three thousand hits over thirty seven hundred fifty five hits anyway so if you took away every single homerun. He's a first down hall of famer but michael. He was also a multiple time batting champion. A multiple time gold glove winner stole thirty bases in a season stole over two hundred forty basis for his career. Rarely got caught. Hit three sixty two and seventy four playoff appearance at bats or plate appearances slugged seven ten all time total basis leader. Could you imagine that guy broke the most significant record in the history of american team sports at a time where there was nothing bigger than baseball or more symbolic than the home run. And you're a baseball writer. Yuko hank aaron not by my definition of a hall of famer roberto clementi and on and on the only unanimous Bari barrel actually long long. They're damn thing about it. You you mentioned all those fact. All those numbers by hank aaron but when you talk about the greatest players played the game this names mentioned. How's that possible. I think partly because it's like when roger marris broke the single season record held by ruth he had sixty one people wanted mantle to do it because he was the heir apparent. I think partly michael. It's because hank aaron's career largely overlapped with willie mays mays came up and fifty one. Aaron fifty four. They both played in the. Nfl maze with a center fielder. He hit fifty home runs a couple times. He has that iconic catch in the world series. And i think people wanted to be maze and when it wound up being hank aaron like aside from the obvious racism right but i think in baseball kind of in the baseball world. People may have been let down that it wasn't willie mays something like that. Yeah i think he might have been really played in the big market and new york city and doesn't sound cisco right hind played in milwaukee and atlanta. So maybe they ignored him down there in the south 'cause because he wasn't in the limelight as much as willie woods. Yeah and i think you're right though. I it's not easy to say. Anyone was better than hank. Aaron in terms of career value in other words. If you were drafting every player that ever lived and you said This is where like the or or kareem. Come in right in the goat conversation. If you were starting a franchise and you say. I just want to be really good every year for as long as possible. If you draft hank aaron for twenty three years i mean probably twenty of those twenty three years. You could hit third or fourth in any lineup in baseball. And he's gonna play great defense on top of the enron the basis and be a good clubhouse guy all those things. You have a case for hank aaron or no question about it and if you put when i put my time outfield together in baseball you know all teams my all time out. Feel in baseball and center Aaron and right and roberto clementi and left roberto clemente first of all play right field. That's number one and number two days not in the all time out. I mean. I love clemente not in the all time. Outfield creep browsing hits probably had the best arm and any outfielder in history the greatest latino player ever. Unless you wanna throw in albuquerque holes in the argument come on. He belongs out there. Guys like roberto clementi could play any outfield position. Teach mickey mantle spanish. Put them in left field in that case. Come on their better. Clemente clementi's on hank aaron and willie mays level clemente was great. But he's not a willie mays man he would have had more than three thousand hits that he wouldn't have been killed soon. Barry bonds in left field. Ricky henderson and left field stan. Musial in left field got some less than zero. All guys are good arguments. You right all right well there. It is do you have any. Do you have any recollection of. I'm forty seven. So i was born a year before the home run record fell. Do you have a recollection of where you were. Whether you aware of hank. Aaron breaking the record like as it happened. Oh yeah no question about it. I was in high school in florida and You know spend a lotta time down there watching the home run record tiger and doing the record chase really. I was in college and seventy five. So obviously we didn't have max kellerman show covering the like we do now or or social media or espn twenty four hour coverage but Every day you would pick up a newspaper and see if he won last night. The watch the countdown toward seven. Fifteen the illegitimate record but Yeah so Yeah we definitely will keep track of Hangs progress. He got closer and closer to seven fifteen seven fourteen. They'll never be another record and there never was since and never before. That meant more than the all time home. Run record in this country. And hank aaron a black man did it. And he wasn't supposed to do it even and he did it at time throughout most of the fifties and sixties when he was compiling the home runs and then finally in seventy four where there was so much anger toward him because of it. It was a remarkable achievement. Michael the best. I've heard about this. And then roger tell me. I have to let you go. Is he had twelve miles more of total basis than the number. Two guy. stan musial stan. Musial played for a million years and was one of the greatest of all time hank. Aaron had more than twelve miles more of total basis than the number two guy. There actually is a good argument. He's the best to ever played the great thing about it hikes not some huge slugger. He's like the only way like hundred seven hundred ninety pounds. Yeah little bit. Bigger than mookie betts and he did all this hundred eighty pounds. I weighed one hundred pounds fifteen pounds ago before the pandemic i was checking in around one eighty nine ninety five home runs seven hundred fifty five the great michael thompson. Ladies and gentlemen we are gonna talk. Lakers coming up max kellerman show on. Espn radio presented by progressive insurance. You could save big when you bundle your auto home motorcycle. Rv or visit progressive dot com. Okay can't forget championships. Sent sunday coming up. Who i got going to the super bowl. You got the max kellerman. Show the podcast. You heard i take your voice out here throwing down here max's last so as i'm trying to do this terrific radio show entertaining informative raj gets in my ear and says hey when you're interviewing bob kendrick the president of the negro leagues museum. You never reset them. You never reset like you have to say on radio. Hey who you're talking to. I thought was bob from georgia. I did reset him. I said i heard brandon get in my ear and say reset and i said bob kendrick president of the negro leagues museum and bring in. Well let's bring in you guys keeping record here on jeans. I believe was keeping track of all this. So on the intro. Do we have an interesting right. So here's here's a max. Okay bob kendrick president of the negro leagues me now hotline. Hey bob what's going on. That's pretty good max. That's pretty good. That's pretty safe release museum actually other negro leagues going on all right. I'm going to be the first white player in the negro leagues raj. Who are so. They're max's you reset three times. Can we go to the second reset. One was the second. Can't place. So i mean not. In the first one was the intro. Here's the first reset and it was a minute and twenty two seconds later. Look at it by the way. I want everyone to hear what what bob kendrick. The president of the negro leagues baseball museum. Right now saying cross-handed okay. I little early a let me just tell you. I was responding to brandon. Now my ear saying someone told me to resent. So that's why maxine. He did it three times. so james. how long did it take for the third reset the happen right so this was kind of one and happened two and a half minutes after the second. One probably wanna wanna ask you about that. Actually we call him bob so it was like half so that could be barred from arizona's doesn't count as a reset does not count reset. I'm so senses proper reset. which second. How long did it take to get to the third reset. Eleven minutes and forty seconds from from mike the president of the negro leagues baseball museum. Thank you so much for joining me today. Amac dry. I can drive from here to bristol in eleven. Let me explain something. That wasn't good by all while you are all bogged down in resetting which applies to many. I was having a fascinating conversation full of information and entertainment. You don't worry about resetting. I worry about the content. If i don't in ten minutes ago. I don't think you're talking to bother jumped in at any point. You think this is interesting. I want to hear more of this. Give me a super bowl. Pick real quick. Let me just tell you what that counts. As a counts as one reset. One reason i said i said his name three times but i reset once reset once in a second but i said i said his name three times throughout kings money super bowl pick the the kansas city chiefs are going to beat the buffalo bills. With mahomes will be playing. He pla- he passed a concussion protocol earlier today about an hour ago and they will be playing the green bay packers as much trouble as the tampa bay. Defence gave the packers the first time they played and they whooped up on them. Good at tampa. I think that part of that was because davante adams was his first game back after injury and rogers was forcing the issue. Antonio brown won't be available for tampa gilbey at green bay. I think it all adds up to aaron rodgers. Winning that game is packers and chiefs in the super bowl. Thanks for listening to the max kellerman show make sure you subscribe rate and review. You can hear the show. Live weekdays at two pm eastern on. Espn radio espn news. Or wherever you straighten your audience.