Hank Aaron: Still The One

AND OTHER RANDOM MUSINGS ON THE PASTIME … By Will Folks || I sat down for coffee this weekend with a friend of mine who loves baseball. I love baseball, too. In fact every time I think of the game, I can hear author Terrance Mann (portrayed by actor James…


By Will Folks || I sat down for coffee this weekend with a friend of mine who loves baseball.

I love baseball, too. In fact every time I think of the game, I can hear author Terrance Mann (portrayed by actor James Earl Jones) giving his famous soliloquy from the movie Field of Dreams.

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball,” Mann said. “America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again.”

So true. In fact when I think about how depressing things have gotten in America – how far our nation’s leaders have strayed from freedom and free markets (and how restricted and impoverished so many Americans are becoming as a result of their self-serving behavior) – I go back to Terrance Mann. And to long summer days at the beach listening to Harry Caray calling Chicago Cubs games on WGN.

Never seen Mann’s speech?

Watch …

(Click to play)

Amen …

Anyway, like I said I sat down for coffee this weekend with a friend of mine who loves baseball as much as I do. We play in several fantasy leagues together, and his knowledge of the game is unrivaled amongst my peers.

For example, in discussing the harrowing head injury suffered by Cincinnati Reds’ closer Arnoldis Chapman last month – my friend noted that the only player to die as a result of injuries suffered during a major league baseball game was also named Chapman (Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians, who died in 1920 after being hit in the head by a pitch from New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays).

Who knows that kind of stuff? Freaky …

But my friend and I hold divergent views on the subject of whether Pete Rose – baseball’s all-time hits leader – should be elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. In 1989, Rose accepted a permanent placement on baseball’s ineligible list after he was caught betting on baseball games – including bets placed on the Cincinnati Reds, the team he managed from 1984-89. He’s also done time for income tax evasion.

He’s not a good guy, in other words … a guy who disgraced the game that provided him with his livelihood.

Like so-called “home run king” Barry Bonds – one of many players implicated in baseball’s steroids scandal (and who was later convicted of obstruction of justice) – Rose should never see the inside of Cooperstown as far as I’m concerned.

My friend disagreed, arguing that Rose should be elected “as a player,” marking a clear distinction between his scandal-scarred managerial career.

I don’t buy it …

Rose’s records should be allowed to stand, sure, but he does not belong in the Hall of Fame. And neither does Bonds, who frankly should be erased from baseball’s record book altogether.

This isn’t the NBA, people. Baseball isn’t just another sport, it is a pastime – America’s pastime. There’s a higher standard at work here.

Who lived up to that standard? Hank Aaron, who hit 755 home runs during a 23-year career from 1954-76 (while courageously enduring countless racist attacks). He remains the home run king as far as I’m concerned. Same with Roger Maris – who hit 61 home runs during the 1961 season despite most baseball fans rooting against him in favor of his beloved teammate, Mickey Mantle.

Those are the real record holders. And the real heroes.

Bart Giamatti – the former commissioner who lowered the boom on Rose – wrote about the game he fought so hard to protect in his essay Green Fields of the Mind.

“It breaks your heart,” he wrote. “It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

Again, baseball isn’t a sport. It is an essential fabric of this country … or what’s left of this country.

It should be a marker of hope … not another black mark denoting the decline of American civilization as we know it.

Players either get that … and respect the game … or they don’t.

Rose and Bonds didn’t respect the game, which is why they do not belong in its most hallowed hall.

This latest effort in support of Rose’s reinstatement strikes me as emblematic of our cultural descent – in which no one is ever held truly responsible for anything. And those supporting it also strike me as disloyal to the pastime they claim to appreciate.

Related posts


Panthers Trade Up, Grab South Carolina’s Xavier Legette

Will Folks

Letter: Defending Dawn Staley


Dawn Staley Went Woke Again

Will Folks


RHood2 April 9, 2014 at 8:31 am

Field of Dreams is a sublime masterpiece.
Shoeless Joe, the book which it was based, is the worst piece of shit ever written.
Hammering Hank is a true joy. Never hit more than 45 HRs in a year, which attests to continual awesomeness.
Of course, if my man the Say Hey Kid Willie Mays hadn’t spent a few years in the army, he would have owned the record. Willie is Barry Bonds’ godfather and will not condemn him. Only failing in Willie’s baseball resume.

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 8:37 am

Again FITS has to chae a movie to express his ideal. And here’s what he misses, as he wraps himself in his fantasies.
8.5% of MLB rosters were made up of African-American players on opening day 2013.
That is seen as URGENT Folly by liberals and those leading baseball.
So MLB formed a committee to try to figure out how to stack the rosters w/ more black players.
That’s not only un-American, it’s immoral….
I pretty much stopped watching the NBA because the outcomes are as predictable as a WWE event. We know LeBron’s team is going to win on Day One of the new season. Since Jordan turned the NBA into entrainment, not a game, referees pick the winners, so the league can market shoes and sports junk, while perpetuating libeal myths. At least WWE promotes athletes of all races….
Pop culture ignorance, and political correctness engineering damages sports….
Example: College baseball is one of the MOST-EXCITING, wholesome and desirable sports spectacles. At USC, count roughly 30 home baseball games w/ 6K fans, compared to 15 home basketball games, with roughly 6K fans, on average.
Scandals are far fewer in college baseball, and kids play for the love of the game, turning down big MLB money many times.
Yet there are 12 FULL schollies for basketball, for a 12-man roster. But a 25-man roster for baseball, and players have to divide 12 schollies, if that many.
All the basketball games are on TV, but few watch because the product is so poor…Baseball gets a few TV games, though the demand is THROUGH the ROOF…
ESPN has minimal interest in college baseball, because it’s not their kind of politics on the field…
Also: Dawn Staley as a women’s BB coach is paid more than Ray Tanner was when he won TWO National Championships…That is not only immoral, it should be illegal…
The ADs who run the NCAA screw sports up a little more each year, with their leftwing politics. I watched very little if the NCAA Hops tournament. I used to be glued to every game.

Smirks April 9, 2014 at 8:59 am

It’s America’s pastime, sure, but at the end of the day it is just another sport, and the players are still human. No different than the NFL, NHL, NBA, FIFA, or any other sport. You’re going to have players that use PEDs, commit illegal activities, make awful decisions in life, etc.

rebellozit April 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

Pete Rose NOT in the HOF?What a joke.Rose holds the ONLY MLB record that can/will never be broke.
There is not HOF without Pete Rose.Anyway,what is the HOF?If you fail 7 of 10 times at the plate (hit .300) you are inducted into the HOF.
Folks needs to inform himself about Pete Rose and why he is not in the HOF.Has nothing to do with gambling.MLB elites blamed Rose for Bart Giamatt’s heart attack despite the fact Giamatti was a chain smoking,over weight,whisky drinking clown.Fay Vincent entire life has been dedicated to keeping Rose out in memory of Giamatti.
Another politically correct opinion by the liberal/ RINO gustapo’s, posing as conservatives.Gotta please the elitist’s. :-)

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

Good point: Michael Jordan was a bigtime gambler when he played. But no problem, because he fits the template of who we’re allowed by the media, to view as heroes.

PS: Bart Giamatti was a Major League Liberal, and was likely installed as MLB Commissioner, just to disgrace Rose, who is not politically correct.

Pete Rose is da man April 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

Holy Shiaaaaatt…..I agree with you!

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 9:30 am

Love it in the ORIGINAL Field of Dreams, when Terrence fumigates Costner out of his Apt. because Costner is a liberal, and Terrance has figured out liberalism is a hoax and a lie. The left has since edited (censored) that out. Cannot afford to let the truth seep out, even in a movie.

I hear JE Jones is a Conservative, and it broke my heart that he sold out and did a overly saccharine narrative to a bunch of liberal myths about Obama, in 2008.

I hear JE Jones regrets doing it for Obama because Obama has turned out to be such a failure and a disappointment for the whole country, black and white.

CBS Atlanta April 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Hank Aaron Compares Republicans That Oppose Obama To KKK

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

You’re a little late with that…see above…..

Pete Rose is da man April 9, 2014 at 9:48 am

I agree that Bonds should be ignored, as anyone that has been outright caught or admitted to doing steroids or other PE drugs.

I’ve always thought two different leagues would be best, one for PE users and one all natural.

PE users competing against those that do not is simply cheating.

As far as Rose goes, if he didn’t cheat when he played(which I don’t believe he ever did) then I think he should be HOF eligible.

If a determining factor for HOF entrance is being a “nice guy”, there a lot more guys you’re gonna have to rule out. The heels make baseball more fun IMO and reflect on the reality of our society. That’s one of the reasons I loved Jesse Ventura when I was a kid and into WWF wrestling in the early 80’s.

Pete Rose was a great player who got that way with hard work, guts & determination. He didn’t pop pills or get shots in his ass to compete. He got out there and gave it his all and if he pissed a few people off while doing it, tough shit for them, because most of them weren’t HOFers- they didn’t want it as badly as him. No matter his other personal failings, that’s a good ethic for MLB and a good life lesson for kids and everyone.

Anyone who has ever played sports has run into guys like Pete Rose, they might not be the MOST gifted athletically, but they try so hard and are so tough deep down you wanna stay the hell away from them cause you know you won’t ever get one easy play. It’s a good life lesson.

Elfego April 9, 2014 at 10:07 am

When a person bets on a contest he has the ability to participate in the out come he belongs in the Disgraced Hall of Fame of the World. He is not worthy of acceptance or admiration!

Pete Rose is da man April 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

Per Wiki:

“The Dowd Report says, “no evidence was discovered that Rose bet against the Reds,”

Let me ask you something. You play on a softball team, someone in the stands says, “I’ll bet you $10 your team loses, you wanna bet?” You say, ‘sure’- does that make you a bad guy? I don’t think so.

The man never bet against his team. The bookie records show that. Rose admitted to betting only for his team, never against. One guy who was part of the investigation could find no proof otherwise and said he simply “believes” otherwise. That’s bullshit. They had years of records showing bets all for the Reds.

Per Wiki:

“Dowd interviewed many of Rose’s associates, including alleged bookies and bet runners. He delivered a summary of his findings to the Commissioner in May. In it, Dowd documented Rose’s alleged gambling activities in 1985 and 1986 and compiled a day-by-day account of Rose’s alleged betting on baseball games in 1987. The Dowd Report documented his alleged bets on 52 Reds games in 1987,”

Elfego April 9, 2014 at 1:53 pm

You do not know what you say is correct. Plus players have inside knowledge and you can bet if they are allowed to bet there would be plenty of collusion and probably is. You like most folks can’t be impartial and just look at all the facts, so be it! Shoeless Joe was never implicated by facts and its a shame also but the knowledge is sufficient. Use your head!

Pete Rose is da man April 9, 2014 at 2:12 pm

“You like most folks can’t be impartial and just look at all the facts, so be it!”

That’s hysterical! That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying, there are no “FACTS” to back up that he did anything but bet for his own team.

“Use your head!”

You win, TBG Rule #3 enacted.

Elfego April 9, 2014 at 4:23 pm

Just be objective!

Elfego April 9, 2014 at 10:05 am

Hank did it the way it should be done with raw God Given Talent. A man who deserves respect and cut no corners.

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 10:34 am

Ditto to that.

CH Smoot April 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

So taking “greenies” isn’t cutting corners?

idiotwind April 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

didn’t miss an opening day as a teenager. it has a lot to offer a 15 year old mind. the structure, the pace of the game, the stats, the slow motion development of the likeliest outcome. as an adult, baseball is fun to play, but watching grown men play it is farcical nonsense beyond the realm of boring.

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

I used the feel the same way as you describe, too. Nothing like the first time, riding through an asphalt jungle, striding a concrete coliseum concourse. And then catch a glimpse of that vivid green grass, and stark white uniforms, in a bigger-than-life metropolitan stadium…with players you have only seen on TV.

But the maniacal free agency, and the amount of money being thrown around, is obscene. A $10 beer or a $7 hotdog for my son, sets off a sick feeling in my stomach. All so the players can get the highest bidder to cough up another $10 million. You cannot develop an identity w/ the players doing business like that….

There is nothing innocent about the game.

Pete Rose is da man April 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

Minor league ball is much more fun and far more affordable now a days. Plus there’s better pre-game interaction with players if you have kids.

TJ April 9, 2014 at 6:54 pm

Agreed- went to a A-ball game last year. Tickets costs five bucks for sitting in the left field box seats, which was a grassy hill that sloped down to the left field wall. Kicked back, relaxed, paid $6 for a large pizza to split with my buddy, another four bucks took care of beverages, and the team had a “Who Wants to Be A Penny Millionaire” drawing to win a million pennies. Not to mention the hot girls firing team t-shirts into the stands with the t-shirt cannon. Some player hit one over field wall, which then rolled back down the hill with everyone chasing it. And the quality of play was pretty damn good as well- all for less than twenty bucks.

Slartibartfast April 10, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Plus, if you want Double-A ball, there’s always college. Tigers, Gamecocks, Terriers, Paladins, El Cid, Cougars, Chanticleers, Eagles, Spartans, Bantams. (I hope I didn’t leave anybody out.)

southmauldin April 9, 2014 at 10:55 am

You get one right once a month, T.

Jackie Chiles April 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

I love watching baseball. In what other sport can you spend 4 hours watching a game with 2.5 hours of commercials, .5 hours of warming up pictures, .5 hours of standing around and .5 hours of a guy throwing a ball past another guy?

rebellozit April 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

I love watching the NBA.In what other sport can you spend 2.5 hours watching a game with 1.75 hours of commercials and a bunch of wanna be gang’stars’,deadbeat dads,all tattoo’d up thugs run up and down the floor dunking on a 10 foot circle?

MashPotato April 9, 2014 at 1:32 pm

You’ve never watched football?

Jackie Chiles April 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Of course. But if I want a nap, I watch baseball.

Tinker Evers Chance April 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm

And if Tim McCarver is announcing, a constant stream of pure, worthless bullshit.

Slartibartfast April 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Cricket. Three days – eight hours a day, drinks at teatime, silly offs, googlies, and hundreds and hundreds of points.

Jackie Chiles April 11, 2014 at 9:38 am

Baseball comparing itself to cricket is like a Model T comparing itself to a horse and buggy in 2014. Yeah, it’s an improvement, but it was an improvement 100 years ago. Baseball needs some modernizing.

Manray April 9, 2014 at 11:29 am

Wow! I am in agreement with Will. A rare day!

Frank Howard April 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Me and Hank are both South Alabama boys you know. I think that wuz key for both of us.

Original Good Old Boy April 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall. It would be one thing if he rigged games by betting against his team, but he never bet against his team. Betting for your team is not a conflict of interest.
This just seems more of a personal grudge by the former commissioner that is carried to the present.
As for Bonds, he deserves to be in the Hall, too. Yeah, the guy is a jerk and he used PEDs, but so did many, many more during the era. He was also playing against guys who were also using — pitchers whose arms were stronger and more durable thanks to the same “enhancements” he was using. In any event, he is one of the greatest talents to ever play the game, and the best player in the past few generations.

GrandTango April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

So Fitting (and sad) FITS would use Hank Aaron (in photo) to represent his views…

Aaron is a FILTHY RACIST Piece of $#!*..who should have his ignorant @$$ kicked out of this country…

The whole nation pulled for this ingrate @$$-hole way back when…now he sides w/ the Communist, America-Hating Obama Racists…because he is one too…

PS: Aaron SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED as an executive for the Braves…Once they bounced his dumb @$$ from the front office…The Braves began to win..

The Braves carried that sorry son of B*!che’s @$$, while he tore down the organization…He is a clown and a joke. He is the kind that F*@ked up baseball…

Elfego April 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I am not an Atlanta fan,never been and do not have much use really for Aaron and his politics but facts are facts like it or not.

Stinkbait April 9, 2014 at 8:40 pm

For someone who makes a living gleefully wallowing in the shitty stench of SC politics, you put this one ‘over the fence’. Thanks.

bill April 9, 2014 at 11:24 pm

Willie Mays is the greatest baseball player, ever.

Original Good Old Boy April 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Nope, Babe Ruth.
He was a womanizing fat alcoholic who probably hardly trained a day in his life. Despite this, he completely dominated the sport, hitting more HRs in some seasons than entire teams did.
Can you imagine Ruth having the benefit of a modern-day sports training program? Now imagine him taking steroids or other PEDs. Unimaginable. In the history of baseball, his talent has never come close to being surpassed.

Norma Scok April 10, 2014 at 9:54 am

Yeah..Hank is a real hero.

Don’t like Obama? If you’re a republican, You’re a racist, and alo the new version of the KKK.

GrandTango April 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hey FITS: An angry mob of Black men beat Steve Utash, a white man, unconscious on April 2. Utash, accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his vehicle after the boy stepped in front of the truck. The boy suffered minor injuries. Utash is in a coma from the beating.

Yet FITS chooses to IGNORE Violent Racism and hate, and Sucks the D!*K of the Disgusting Excuse of American, Hank Aaron…

To me: FITS’ negligence IDs him as just as Filthy a Bigot Piece of $#!* as Aaron the Racists, who almost killed this man.

When is enough, enough???..When will the liberal, Bored, Suburban, Cushy-life Yuppies like FITS, who so much think it’d be cool to be black, get their heads out of their @$$#$…

Slartibartfast April 10, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Yeah, buddy! There will always be only one Hammerin’ Hank! THAT’S baseball!


Leave a Comment