A Clean Hit
Thank you, SI, for a great cover honoring Hank Aaron (The People's King, July 23). How pristine the image is—no batting gloves, no wristbands, no gold chains or earrings, no body armor and not even pine tar. Just a man with a cylindrical piece of wood waiting on a horsehide sphere. Magnificent.
Tim Shullberg, Long Beach, Calif.
As Barry Bonds closes in on Aaron, it was refreshing to see the true Home Run King enjoying another day in the spotlight. Kudos to SI for taking the high road in this mess and for eloquently stating that Aaron is the one we should be celebrating as his record, but not his legacy, falls.
Joe Werner, Riverview, Fla.
When I was 10 years old and growing up in Tennessee, my dad told me how Hank Aaron was about to become the greatest home run hitter of all time. I decided to make a poster to celebrate the big event. This year, with Aaron's record about to fall, my kids decided to carry on the tradition and make their own poster recognizing the greatest home run hitter of all time ... Hank Aaron.
John Shannon, Cumming, Ga.
One reason that Hank Aaron seemed not "properly noticed" is apparent when Tom Verducci notes that "...not one of Aaron's single-season home run totals is among the 68 highest of all time...none of his single-season RBI totals rank among the top 100 of all time." As great as Aaron was, Mays, Mantle, Ruth and Williams were more dominant players at their peak.
Sheldon Hirsch, Wilmette, Ill.
Tom Verducci's article was a great tribute to Henry Aaron. However, to say he was "often ignored at home" is deceptive. The Atlanta Braves in the early 1970s were a perennially losing team. In September '73, when "only 1,362 people were at Fulton County Stadium," the Braves were finishing yet another down season (76--85, fifth in the NL West). Hank had 710 homers heading into that game, and even the most optimistic fan knew he wasn't going to hit five that day. In 1974, when Aaron did set the record, Fulton County Stadium was full. I know because I was there.
George Messner, Tucker, Ga.
As Barry Bonds approaches what Rick Reilly has termed his "Fake Break" (LIFE OF REILLY, July 23), I plan to turn off the television and read The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot, right to the last lines: "This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper." If ever there was a hollow man, it's Barry Bonds.
Robert G. Harvie
North Lethbridge, Alberta
When Barry Bonds finally breaks Hank Aaron's record, he will probably write a book. My suggestion for a title: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened.
Arthur M. Geiger, Toledo
Don't hate Barry Bonds for breaking this record under the influence of steroids. Hate MLB for allowing a culture of performance-enhancing drugs to flourish for years.
Chris Kennison, Jefferson City, Mo.