Henry Aaron, who is only 75 home runs short of Babe Ruth's career record of 714, passes his 38th birthday this week, a venerable age for a ballplayer. Pragmatic Henry says of his efforts to break Ruth's mark, "If I stay healthy, I'd say I have an excellent chance."
Paul Richards, vice-president of the Atlanta Braves and Aaron's boss, is more specific. Richards says flatly, "If he stays healthy, Henry will break the record on Aug. 31, 1973." You might put a circle around that date.
During the epidemic of campus unrest in the late 1960s, San Francisco State College was a sort of Bunker Hill for student revolutionaries, a haven for the "don't-trust-anyone-over-30" generation. But now the school seems to have come full circle—in basketball, anyway. San Francisco State averages 25.0 years per man, an astonishingly high figure when it is realized, if you compare the first six men on each team, that four pro clubs in the NBA are younger (Buffalo, 24.6, Houston, 24.0, Cleveland, 24.3 and Portland, 24.8).
San Francisco State's oldest is Ray Hearne, a fateful 30. Charles Hammond is an elderly 28. Two others, Vance DeVost and Gary Bradford, have reached the quarter-century mark. Youth is represented by Jack Wilson, 22, and Larry Taylor, 21.
The team had an admirable 11-5 record as of last week, with three of the losses coming by a total of five points. Significantly, two of the defeats came in overtime, which may say something about that age. And, lest the over-30 crowd become smug, it should be pointed out that the leading scorer is Taylor, the baby of the team.
Some sports stars are more outspoken than others. One of the bluntest is a lady named Yolanda Roacho, known professionally as Baby Rocco, the arch villainess of the Texas Outlaws roller skating team. Here are some of Baby's recent comments on her sport and her job: "I quit the game once a few years ago, you know? I couldn't stand the travel and the lousy hotel rooms. I went home to L. A. and got a job—and I nearly went out of my mind. It gets in your blood, you know? I mean, with all the crap you got to put up with it's still better than 9 to 5. I don't like it, but you get used to it.
"The fans are nuts, you know? I mean, I get paid good money to do my job, and my job is to win. I don't care how I win as long as I win, and if some nut up there in the stands don't like it, he can shove it, you know?
"Maybe some of the slugging going on out there is more show than real, but when someone shoves you and you hit the track and bounce three or four times before you stop, brother, that's real. And I got the bruises on my tail to prove it."