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.


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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