By: Julio Olmo
Baseball has always been a huge deal for my kin. Since, their childhood days and all throughout their adult lives, my uncles have always loved the game.
God, family and… baseball, that’s their code!
Originally, I come from baseball blood lines. My uncles are true baseball-men. They grew up listening to the game on the radio.
They love baseball and when I say they love baseball is the pull up a chair and sit through a doubleheader with multiple rain delays kind of LOVE!
It was the summer of 2008 and I lived in Davenport, Florida at the time – Davenport is very close to all the theme parks in Orlando.
I had stop at a local pharmacy to buy prescription medicine when suddenly Hank Aaron walks by me!
For a moment, I doubted myself…so, I asked this kid stacking products on shelves;
”Excuse me, sorry to bother you… Was that Hank Aaron?”, I asked him.
“Who is Hank Aaron?”, The kid answered.
I could see that continuing a conversation with this kid any further was going to lead me to a dead-end, so I moved on.
Off I went searching aisle by aisle for Mr. Aaron, while at the same time trying very hard not to look like some crazed stalker.
I finally located Mr. Aaron at the front register about to check out.
I slowly approached him, outside on the parking lot. After all the man had received tons of hate mail when he was hell-bent on breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record, so I was scared to death that he would not be receptive to total strangers walking up to him.
I feared that he was one of those bitter old-timer types, but he was cool;
“Sir, sir… are you The Hammer, Hank Aaron?” I asked.
“Nobody has called me that in a little while young man,” Hank Aaron said smiling.
“Student of the game and sports history junkie, Mr. Aaron,” I said.
“Call me Hank, young man,” he said to me.
“I wish I could Mr. Aaron,” I said as the living legend laughed at my corny one liner.
“I got a photograph of you with Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente at home,” I continued.
“If you had it with you, I would be more than happy to autograph it, Clemente was a good guy,” he said.
“Thanks, Mr. Aaron,”, I said.
I must had set a world record collecting brownie points on that day. I was on fire.
I shook hands with the living legend and he got in his car and drove away.
Our conversation lasted only minutes and I am sure is impossible for Hank Aaron to remember ever meeting me, but…I will never forget the time I shook hands with one of baseball’s greatest players of all time.
Hank Aaron is MLB royalty.
He is Major League Baseball’s legitimate home run king. Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds had to use Performance-Enhancing drugs in order to surpass Mr. Aaron on the record books. That’s why it would be a cold day in Hell before voters will allow these three cheaters to see the inside of Baseball’s Hall of Fame, unless they pay admission and follow the tour guide!