Tommie's playing career has been no disgrace. Only two years ago he averaged .318 in Triple A, and in 1967 he was the International League's Most Valuable Player. He remains an adroit fielder at first base. But after seven different chances against big-league pitching, his average in the majors is only .229.
"I could always catch the ball," says Tommie. "Any guy off the street can do that. Like most guys, my problem was hitting. I can't really complain. A lot of fellows never got as much of a chance up there as I did. At least I was able to get my pension."
This is Aaron's last year as an active player, but he will continue trying to master the fine points of melding diverse egos and abilities into a winning baseball team. Braves Farm Director Bill Lucas feels there is no question that Tommie has major league managerial potential. Aaron says only, "I'm a pretty good piece from the big leagues, but I'll hang around and see what happens. We're all learning down here—the players, the managers and umpires. I haven't given much thought about becoming the first black manager in the big leagues. I'm not trying to prove nothing to no one."
There is in Atlanta another man who thinks Tommie has a future as a manager. "Tommie knows as much baseball as anyone in the game," he says. "He always studied it more than me. He has the talent and he knows all the strategy." Henry Aaron said that. Tommie-Aaron's-brother.