715

I saw the home run through my 10-year-old eyes.
The Record.
Hammering Hank.
I didn’t know of the bigotry.
I didn’t know of the hate.
I didn’t know of the threats.
I knew baseball.
I knew hitting.

I knew Henry Aaron,
my right-handed hitting hero.
I knew Carl Yastrzemski,
my left-handed hitting hero.
I didn’t see black and white.
I saw sweet, smooth swings.
I saw the ball popping off their bats
in the color of baseball, not skin.

In Atlanta, Georgia,
on an April evening,
I saw the ball fly over the fence.
The record fell.
715.
The Holy Grail of records,
the one which would never fall.
The Great Bambino.

Then the man with the brown sugar swing
ran around the bases.
Afraid for his life.
Afraid for his family.
Because he did what he loved to do,
the same thing I loved to do.
Hit a baseball,
and watch it fly.

April 8, 1974

aaron-hank-437-57-nbl

 

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