I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story

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9780060163211: I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story

Henry Aaron left his mark on the world by breaking Babe Ruth's record for home runs. But the world has also left its mark on him.

"Hammering Hank" Aaron's story is one that tells us much about baseball, naturally, but also about our times. His unique, poignant life has made him a symbol for much of the social history of twentieth-century America.

Raised during the Depression in the Deep South enclave of Mobile, Alabama, Aaron broke into professional baseball as a cross-handed slugger and shortstop for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League. A year later, he and a few others had the unforgettable mission of integrating the South Atlantic League. A year after that, he was a timid rookie leftfielder for the Milwaukee Braves, for whom he became a World Series hero in 1957 as well as the Most Valuable Player of the National League.

Aaron found himself back in the South when the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965. Nine years later, in the heat of hatred and controversy, he hit his 715th home run to break Ruth's and baseball's most cherished record--a feat that was recently voted the greatest moment in baseball history. That year, Aaron received over 900,000 pieces of mail, many of them vicious and racially charged.

In a career that may be the most consistent baseball has ever seen. Aaron also set all-time records for total bases and RBIs. He ended his playing days by spending two nostalgic seasons back in Milwaukee with the Brewers, then embarked on a new career as an executive with the Atlanta Braves. He was for a long time the highest-ranking black in baseball. In this position, Aaron has become an unofficial spokesman in racial matters pertaining to the national pastime.

Because of the depth and pertinence of Aaron's dramatic experiences, I Had A Hammer is more than a baseball autobiography. Henry Aaron's candor and insights have produced a revealing book about his extraordinary life and time.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Fans will be eager to read all-time home-run king Aaron's autobiography, written with freelancer Wheeler, especially as he was one of the last major league players with his roots in the Negro League. At 18 the Mobile, Ala.-born athlete was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns and within months was on his way to organized white baseball. He helped to integrate the South Atlantic (Sally) League--a horrible experience--and within two years was playing for the Braves in Milwaukee, Wis., a city that loved him; after 13 years the team moved to Atlanta, where he was shown little affection. Each chapter begins with a scene-setting introduction by Wheeler, then Aaron takes over, aided by reminiscences of boyhood friends, former teammates and baseball executives. The book is as much a social document as a memoir, for Aaron is militant on race relations and views himself as a major successor to Jackie Robinson in the fight to end sports racism, which he finds widely practiced still. Photos not seen by PW. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

YA-- Aaron's autobiography is much more than a collection of baseball memories. It is the first-hand account of the prejudice faced by Aaron and his contemporaries who followed Jackie Robinson into the big leagues. The narrative is modest yet supremely confident ; from it emerges a picture of an incredibly talented man who fought for the opportunities he deserved. During the 23 years he played the game, Aaron became the best hitter of all time, surpassing even Ted Williams and Willie Mays. Readers will enjoy this inside look at his life and career.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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