Chicago Memories of Hank Aaron



By David A. F. Sweet





The picture with Hank Aaron was taken when I was 9 years old. I was the Atlanta Braves batboy for a day at Wrigley Field, thanks to my parents. Waving goodbye to my Mom, I climbed the stairs to the visitor’s clubhouse on my own with great trepidation. Upon arrival, I was given a uniform that was far too big for me, but it was the smallest they had. I had to wear two or three belts to keep the pants up. I’ll never forget Hank Aaron laughing at me in the clubhouse, saying ‘You look like Santa Claus!’

You can see the picture has an inscription. Thanks to Chicago’s Bill Bartholomay, owner of the team, Hank Aaron noted on the photograph how he had hit his 714th home run — tying Babe Ruth’s seemingly unbreakable record — on my birthday. He used two colors of ink — I assume one of the pens had run dry. Bill Bartholomay later told me that he was so excited by Aaron breaking Ruth’s record in Atlanta four days later that he carried his mother from the front row onto the field to meet her son at home plate.