Aron knocked the next pitch over the centerfielder's head. His teen-idol grin spread as he circled the bases, and widened as he crossed the plate. "Not bad," Bob said. "A homer on Opening Day."
By midseason, Aron was hitting .372, with two more homers, a triple and seven doubles in 43 at bats. He was getting walked with frustrating regularity. Though dying to pitch, he was playing a solid shortstop, warming up the team's other pitchers and seldom complaining. Whenever Yoshino promises he can pitch again next year, 1989 seems to Aron like 1999.
Kicking off his cleats in his bedroom after a recent win in which he homered, Aron re-enacted his swing. "Low fastball, right where I wanted it," he said. "Boom!" His room is a whirl of baseballs, gloves, trophies, pennants, Little League World Series memorabilia and pictures of his heroes.
"There's Ozzie," he says, pointing to an action shot of the Cardinals' shortstop. "And that Astros pennant is for Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott."
Over his unmade bed—almost life-sized, bearing down on his pillow—is a poster of a Porsche. "Gonna get one of those when I sign my first pro contract," says Aron. Then he grins. He is 13, his team is in first place and his strong right arm is almost as good as new.