Hammerin' Hank Aaron was born today...
My feelings about baseball aside, there is no denying what the man would go on to do for black folks in the sporting world.
Yes, Jackie Robinson would be the one to break the barrier to the game, but he wouldn't be the one to DARE be the one to break Babe Ruth's record while committing the cardinal sin (and apparent felony, even to this day) of being of negroid descent en route to it.
I once watched a documentary on the television (yeah, pretty much my favorite TV, actually) where they showed some of the letters he received as he drew closer to Babe Ruth's record, and INVARIABLY, they included the words "boy," "nigger," and/or "monkey."
And all this toward a dude who - unlike the person who would go on to break HIS record - was an as-described-by-everyone, a LIKABLE guy! Sure, Barry Bonds was/is a surly douchebag, but there was no room for black athletes to be that at a time.
Because of the shadow cast over Bonds and his career, some
white people still call Hank the career home run leader but never say the same shit about Roger Clemens' legacy because of it. I guess the "safe negro" aesthetic is applicable more here than ever, huh?
None of that is a rap on Hank Aaron, I promise you.
He's still alive and kicking, now 77 years of age as of today, so this is a legitimate happy birthday to Hammerin' Hank Aaron.