Baseball History Hank Aaron Breaks the Home Run Record Part 2

About the history of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home run record in his own words.

THE CHAMPIONS REPORT ON THEIR BIGGEST MOMENTS

Henry Aaron Becomes the Home Run King (1974)

As I Saw It

(From One for the Record by George Plimpton, Harper and Row, 1974.) At the end of the '73 season, Aaron said: "If I wind up with 710, or 712, or even 713 at the end of next year, it won't bother me. I'd like to have the record, but I can't do any more about it than I'm doing now."

Before 714: "The reporters rush in and ask questions--mostly about hitting. Now we're into the food questions--some silly thing like how many shrimp can I eat at a sitting. Then they rush out again; then I read that I'm 'mysterious' or 'not colorful' or 'full of grave silence.' . . . Maybe what I've done is make new fans. At first there was a lot of mail from people, older people, who didn't want me to break Babe Ruth's record. The young generation took note of that and supported me. I think they want to relate to me, to see me have a record, not someone their granddad saw play."

After 714: "I'm just glad it's almost over with. . . .[The Braves' loss] kind of takes the edge off it. Come around after we've won and I'll show you a celebration."

Before 715: "I just hope I can get this thing over with tonight--as soon as possible."

After 715: "Right now it feels like just another home run. I felt all along if I got a strike I could hit it out. I just wanted to touch all the bases on this one. . . . I feel I can relax now. I feel my teammates can relax. I feel I can have a great season. . . . "

On the phone to President Nixon, who asked what hitter might challenge his record: "Well, there's Reggie Jackson. . . .And Johnny Bench. If they play long enough. That's the important thing. . .to stay healthy. This is my 21st season, and I have been fortunate enough not to sustain any long injuries. . . .I don't remember the noise, or the two kids that ran on the field. My teammates at home plate, I remember seeing them. I remember my mother out there and she hugging me. That's what I'll remember more than anything about that home run when I think back on it. I don't know where she came from, but she was there. . . ."

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