The Hammer! A few times and far less often than we hope, do our heroes maintain themselves thru the stains of time. Too often, they seem to creatively find ways to shatter those illusions, like a soft-grip of a favorite snow-globe of our youth. Those delusions are ours and not theirs. Rare is a hero that sets off on a knight’s quest towards one of baseball’s Holy Grail’s, only to carry with him a quiet dignity of fotitude and stoicism that relies more on substance than of flash – and for that we must always give thanks to Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron. Give him the unconditional love he deserves. Remember 715. Remember a man that did not masquerade or exploit his talents to gain his seat at the table, he earned his place in the Pantheon. Celebrate The Hammer!
He is a Saint and an example of all that is good within us and what we can achieve by just putting our head down and getting to work – regardless of outside distractions. It is a shame, that on that night, in the 4th innning, what he felt after hitting Al Downing’s pitch over the left field wall, was not joy at the accomplishment, but relief. Babe Ruth was larger than life, with larger appetites, and while he was gregarious and still maintains a popular place in the church of baseball – The Hammer was a contrast of muted poise. Babe Ruth would have embraced it all, the energy, the party; where as Hank – under constant harassment by the media and fans, appeared as concerned with it all as a man does with a child asking for a new balloon. There were more flamboyant superstars during Aaron’s 21 year career that shined brighter and preferred to hover in the spotlight – while Hank comfortably went to work in the shadows that they’d cast. He was just a man, doing his job and wanting to live a normal life, like anyone else.
Here it is, in his own words, from Hank Aaron’s autobiography, “I Had a Hammer” about that night:
When I was alone and the door was shut, I got down on my knees and closed my eyes and thanked God for pulling me through. At that moment, I knew what the past twenty-five years of my life had been about. I had done something that nobody else in the world had done, and with it came a feeling that nobody else has ever had – not exactly, anyway. I didn’t feel a wild sense of joy. I didn’t feel like celebrating. But I probably felt closer to God at that moment than at any other in my life. I felt a deep sense of gratitude and a wonderful surge of liberation all at the same time. I also felt a stream of tears running down my face.
Aaron retired after the 1976 season with the Brewers and ended with 755 Home-Runs. He is a sports hero we deserve, and we should remind him how much we appreciate all that he exemplifies, what is good within us. It isn’t about shouting, asking where your 15 seconds of fame and notoriety are, despite being attached to the digital freeway, looking for instant gratification, and validation. It’s about grace, quiet dignity, hard work and perseverance – that in time, we too have a shot at being exceptional – it may not mean we will be an all-timer – but it does mean we can walk with our head held high, knowing we gave it all we had – just like the Hammer!
Baseball is back and this seamhead is pumped – at least for a while. Meaning the Rockies, of course they are 2-0 and in first place, all by themselves – regardless if we have seen how this story usually ends in June. It’s just 83 more W’s for my prediction to come true, as I wrote here back in February. Just remember, Crazy is a term of Art – Insanity is term of Law, and I am still not insane – I have a sticker to prove it.
But what we have decided to do, is provide some help with your Daily Fantasy Baseball needs: It will not be as full-blown as our NBA coverage until next year, but it will help you get an idea of who to consider – so without further ado….
Consider that 4 players for the Colorado Rockies have a batting average of .500 or better against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta and that Tulo, in 14 plate appearances against Peralta has 3 singles and 4 walks. The other 4 are Nolan Arenado, Nick Hundley, Justin Morneau and Corey Dickerson. The issue being for some is the possibility of rest. No Rest for these guys? Then we could look at a road sweep to start the year before welcoming the National League Champion Cubs (sarcasm) for the Home Opener Friday.
Consider staying away from Pujols and Trout against Iwakura of the Mariners. In 26 and 27 at-bats, both Trout and Pujols hit below .200. However, if they can get to him, it is usually for xtra-base-hits. In Trout’s 5 hits he has 4 singles and 1 HR and Pujols’ 5 hits are for 2 singles and 3 doubles. What you have to consider, is the price worth the performance?
Consider neither pitcher for the Orioles or the Rays are gonna stop anyone from htting the ball around the yard and consider that Oakland could shell Texas Rangers’ pitcher Ross Detwiler.
Consider Daniel Murphy and his excellent matchup against Jordan Zimmerman. Murphy is 16 for 50 against Zimmerman with 5 doubles, 3 HR’s and only 2 strikeouts. Others that have good matchups are both Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton and Christian Yellich against Shelby Miller – both are a combined 6-11 with 2 HR’s, 2 singles and a double.
Consider these guys by position, for your lineup today that have the best matchup and best potential:
Justin Morneau (if he plays, took a throw to the neck last night)
Nolan Arenado (if he plays)
Tulo (if he plays)
Nick Hundley (if he plays)
Mike (Giancarlo) Stanton
Desmond Jennings (4HR’s against M.Gonzales but strikes out 19.4% against him)