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The First Pitch: January 22, 2022

Today is the first anniversary of the death of Hank Aaron, who some believe is still the legitimate home run king. While Barry Bonds broke Aaron’s career homer mark under the intense scrutiny of fans and reporters suspicious that he had done so with the help of steroids, Aaron set the mark formerly held by Babe Ruth under the intense scrutiny of bigots who rained racist mail upon him, unnerving both him and his Atlanta Braves teammates as the FBI warned him that he could be the target of a sniper while on the field or sitting in the dugout. 

Aaron was more than just a great player; he was a great man. His respect for the game and respect for decency and common sense, something highly lacking today by many, was a standard we should all strive for. So remember Aaron for not only his achievements, but for his mild-mannered embracement of everything America should be.


It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today

2017: Evolving Kansas City pitcher Yordano Ventura, age 25, is killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic. In four years with the Royals, Ventura was 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA.


Shameless Link of the Day

Here’s the story of Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 1974 season.


You Say It’s Your Birthday

Lone Rockies no-hit artist Ubaldo Jimenez is 38; former Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is 43; man of 341 steals Chone Figgins is 44; 22-game winner from 1978 Mike Caldwell is 73. Born on this date is 17-year outfielder Amos Strunk (1889) and brief turn-of-the-century pitching wonder Jay Hughes (1874).

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