What They're Saying About Hank

"Hank Aaron is a litmus test for what racism is in America."
--Singer/Civil Rights Activist Harry Belafonte

"Once, he came up to hit, and I told him he had the label the wrong way on the bat. You gotta turn it around so you can read it. And he said, "I didn't come up to read. I came up to hit."
--Catcher Yogi Berra, recalling the 1957 World Series

"For me, he was probably the best hitter, the toughest hitter for me to get out that I ever faced. There were so many good hitters, with Mays, Clemente, Robinson. But for me, I'd have to pick Henry as the toughest one."
--Former Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Sandy Koufax

"A sports reporter once wrote, 'Hank Aaron does everything Willie Mays does, but his hat doesn't fall off.'"
--Former Braves Pitcher Ernie Johnson

Haywood and Aaron "He's a natural-born ballplayer. God done sent me something."

--Indianapolis Clowns Manager Buster Haywood

"So much of America identified with baseball, and they saw these black men playing with the best. These young men helped pave the way, and I think baseball made a great contribution toward ending segregation."
--U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

"It is sports and racially integrated sports teams that brought about the changes that I think have saved the South. And I would not have ever been considered seriously as a Presidential candidate had that not been done before I ran for office."
--Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

"A man sitting directly behind me kept calling Aaron a nigger. I got up and went to the concession stand. I got a hamburger and loaded it up with mustard and ketchup. And when he said it again, I put it in his face. Then he was escorted out of the park."
--Aaron's ex-wife, Barbara Aaron

"There are three things you can't give a nigger: a black eye, a fat lip and a job."
--A sample of the hate mail sent to Hank Aaron

"There's one sound that's really significant in your life as a pitcher, that makes you wake up in the middle of the night, and that's the sound of a bat when it hits a home run."
--Former Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Al Downing

"I don't think Hank's home run record will ever be broken. There's no way."
--Atlanta Braves Outfielder David Justice

"Well basically, I'm like 590 away."
--Seattle Mariners Outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.


"America would have preferred that someone else do it. If it had to happen, I think a lot of people would have preferred that someone more flamboyant would have done it. For an African-American out of Mobile, Alabama, quiet, unassuming, in a lot of ways, very, very withdrawn. It didn't sit well with a lot of people. And yet, in a lot of ways, he was the man to do it, because he is a very good and decent human being. He does not gloat over any of his accomplishments. He lets the record speak for itself. And I think for a man with that kind of character and attitude to accomplish the record, the greatest of all baseball records, really is in baseball's interest." Billye Williams Aaron and Henry Aaron
--Aaron's wife, Billye Williams Aaron


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