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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hank Aaron wows other baseball greats at Milo Hamilton’s night

Bud Selig may be baseball’s commissioner, but Hank Aaron is the closest thing the game has to royalty (with apologies to Stan Musial). That much became apparent from the moment the man many still consider to be the Last Legitimate Home Run King swoops into Minute Maid Park on a rainy Tuesday night.

Aaron is there to honor Milo Hamilton, who is retiring from full-time broadcasting after 28 seasons calling Houston Astros games and six decades on the air overall.

But Aaron is the one who ends up leaving many of other baseball greats in the building — a list that includes Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Craig Biggio — feeling starstruck.

“To tell you the truth Milo, I came tonight because Henry Aaron is sitting at my table,” Biggio says in his turn at the microphone. “Are you kidding me? If you really want to feel bad about your career compare your stats to Henry Aaron’s stats.”

Providing you don’t compare 2B’s, SB’s, HBP…

Hammerin’ Hank and the voice of the Astros will be forever linked by the record-breaking 715th home run call Hamilton made as the Atlanta Braves broadcaster in 1974. As Aaron tells Hamilton in front of a crowd of more than 500 people, “Your voice goes with me all over the world.”

Later with a few reporters, Aaron admits he probably didn’t fully appreciate Milo’s now-iconic call at the time. “I don’t know if I even nearly remember hearing it then,” Aaron says. But as the years went on and the call kept getting played over and over again whenever Aaron made an appearance, or was talked about on TV, he found the brilliance in Hamilton’s delivery.

Repoz Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:58 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

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   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:51 AM (#4273748)
this is not meant to be mean but repoz' brief insertion just reads as stupid when someone looks and sees that hank had 17 seasons with a greater ops+ than biggio's best season.

17.

biggio's remark was spot on. and good for him for acknowledging that while he was a fine player hank was in a different class.
   2. asinwreck Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:54 AM (#4273749)
The only autograph I've ever requested from a baseball player is Aaron's.
   3. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4273754)
Yeah. Hank was pretty damned good.
   4. Repoz Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4273761)
this is not meant to be mean but repoz' brief insertion just reads as stupid when someone looks and sees that hank had 17 seasons with a greater ops+ than biggio's best season.

Harvey, Aaron is just about my favorite player...I was just pointing out (for BBWAA voting viewers) just how great Biggio was and not forget it with ballot time on the horizon.
   5. dejarouehg Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:53 AM (#4273764)
biggio's remark was spot on. and good for him for acknowledging that while he was a fine player hank was in a different class.


There have been nearly 17000 players in MLB history. Probably 9500 +/- are non-pitchers. Of those, I would guess about 15 are genuinely in his class and he's top 3...............though he was never truly considered in Mays' class (and then I think surpassed him in many minds) until a decade after he retired.

I've heard from some people who approached him at a Braves game that he was extremely pleasant. He definitely has Mays on that front.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 17, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4273797)
repoz

my apologies

   7. phredbird Posted: October 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4273810)
Hank Aaron is the closest thing the game has to royalty (with apologies to Stan Musial)


well stosh is kinda old and unable to get around much anymore, so that's not entirely fair. if he was as active as hank he'd be getting his props. musial was already a legendary player when aaron came up, and i imagine in musial's presence aaron would be as starstruck as biggio was in aaron's.
   8. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 17, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4273843)
There have been nearly 17000 players in MLB history. Probably 9500 +/- are non-pitchers. Of those, I would guess about 15 are genuinely in his class and he's top 3...............though he was never truly considered in Mays' class (and then I think surpassed him in many minds) until a decade after he retired.
No disrespect to Aaron (because I'd never try to argue that he's not one of the innerest of the inner circle HOFers), but...top 3?

Even if you don't include Bonds because of PED use,

1. Ruth

Are you saying Aaron was better than all but one of Wagner, Cobb, Mays, Gehrig and Williams? If you cite WAR, remember that it's a counting stat and Aaron played from 260 (Cobb) to 1000 (Williams and Gehrig) more games than any of the five. And that's before you start talking about Speaker or Hornsby.

Clearly top 10 (I would include Bonds, but that's me), but top 3? I dunno.

   9. salvomania Posted: October 17, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4273864)
Interesting... I just looked up Hanks' stats at bb-ref, and I notice Mr. Furtado has added a new touch: in addition to "bold" numerals for a league-leading batting average, he's added a gold halo around the number that indicates he was "awarded the title at the end of the year." I guess this is his way of dealing with the Melky Cabrera/Buster Posey situation.

There's no gold halo for leading the league in any other category, however.

Although you do get a gold halo if your career numbers in a category are the all-time best: Hank's career RBI and Total Bases also get gold halos... although it seems like there's a bug as the gold halos also filter down to his career RBI and Total Bases in the postseason, which while outstanding for the limited number of games, aren't all-time highs.
   10. McCoy Posted: October 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM (#4273894)
Furtado has taken over BRef? When did that happen?
   11. base ball chick Posted: October 17, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4273919)
good riddance to milo - what a horrible announcer. bout the only thing the new owner (rot his soul) did right was to get rid of milo (FINALLY) and his 2 awful sidekicks. now, to see if he can replace them with anyone who is good.

not that i'll be listening, you know

and biggio knows How To Say All The Right Things - and he always did. and of course he is no hank aaron, like duh. but it doesn't mean he wasn't good enough to be a hall of famer, in spite of his last 2 dreadful years when he looked like a AAA guy getting full PT for some reason.
   12. salvomania Posted: October 17, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4274207)
Furtado has taken over BRef? When did that happen?


Sorry, meant Forman.
   13. Tippecanoe Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4274348)
Providing you don’t compare 2B’s

Biggio had 668 doubles, 55 triples, total 723
Aaron 624 doubles, 98 triples, total 722

Hank could have stopped at second on 45 of those hits and beaten Biggio on doubles, but then Biggio has him on Triples. But of course, Aaron provided more value on his gappers.
   14. dlf Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM (#4274361)
Are you saying Aaron was better than all but one of Wagner, Cobb, Mays, Gehrig and Williams ...


And Johnson, Grove, Young, etc. Plus Gibson, Paige, Charleston, Lloyd, etc. I think a reasonably good case can be made that would keep Aaron out of the top 10 and depending on timelines maybe 15-20.

I was 6 when Aaron broke Ruth's record and have only vague memories of him as a DH for the Brewers. But in looking at his record, I've always thought of Hank Aaron as the hitting version of Cy Young. One of the best in the game, but rarely the best and never far away the best, for a ridiculously long time. Nolan Ryan, Eddie Murray, Don Sutton, but raised to a significantly higher factor.
   15. Tippecanoe Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4274385)
On the other hand, Aaron is 5th all-time among position players in WAR, behind (in order) Ruth, Bonds, Mays, and Cobb. With timelining you can bump him ahead of Cobb, and depending on Bonds' steroid-adjustment you could (squinting) get him to 3rd in overall career value.

All of the 6 or 7 guys immediatley behind him in the WAR rankings derive a significant component of their value pre-integration. Voila, he's 3rd all-time.
   16. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4274396)
He might be the most consistent player MLB has ever seen, although not sure what happened in 1964. Couldn't believe he is 78 years old.
   17. Booey Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:05 PM (#4274411)
And Johnson, Grove, Young, etc. Plus Gibson, Paige, Charleston, Lloyd, etc. I think a reasonably good case can be made that would keep Aaron out of the top 10 and depending on timelines maybe 15-20.


I think timelining would actually HELP Aaron's ranking. Based solely on numbers, too many of the all time greats peaked in the 1910's and 1920's, IMO.
   18. SteveM. Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4274429)
Every time I see Milo Hamilton's name, I remember Skip Carey's threat to kick his ass.
   19. dr. scott Posted: October 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4274472)
Uhhh... Mays is still alive... and still does events. Aaron is not the only royalty, though he does still seem to be the most spry, though Mays does quite well for his age.
   20. Morty Causa Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM (#4274558)
well stosh is kinda old and unable to get around much anymore, so that's not entirely fair. if he was as active as hank he'd be getting his props. musial was already a legendary player when aaron came up, and i imagine in musial's presence aaron would be as starstruck as biggio was in aaron's.


Yeah, most players are pretty ignorant about baseball history, but they do know the legends, and they become kind of like kids themselves when the presence of a legend. A prominent example of this is the way Williams was viewed and treated in his post-retirement years all the way to his death. That all-time all-star tribute was genuinely touching, and I have in mind the way the players instinctively reacted to him.
   21. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4274588)
And Johnson, Grove, Young, etc. Plus Gibson, Paige, Charleston, Lloyd, etc.
From the original comment:
There have been nearly 17000 players in MLB history. Probably 9500 +/- are non-pitchers.
So, no pitchers and no NeLers.
   22. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4274631)
Again, using WAR, remember that it's a counting stat and Aaron played as many as 1000 more games than some of the guys immediately behind him (especially Williams, who lost time in his prime to the wars). I'm don't know enough to compare 154-game WAR to 162-game WAR, but none of the old timers approached Aaron's playing time, either - Speaker and Wagner played 500 fewer games (more than 3 seasons' worth); even Cobb played 250 fewer games.

   23. cardsfanboy Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4274656)
I know it's probably my Cardinal visors on, and maybe some of the fact that Aaron was a little unappreciated in his playing days, but I just don't see Aaron ahead of Musial. Great player and all, but just among position players, I'm not 100% sure I put Aaron in the top ten, even if I remove Bonds from the equation.

In my mind clearly ahead of him Ruth, Cobb, Mays, Williams, Wagner.... After that arguably ahead of him would be Gehrig, Musial, Hornsby, Mantle, Speaker.... I don't know enough about Collins to argue for him. So after looking at it closer, yes 10 is likely, 5 out of the question.

Edit: added Speaker to my original list, thought I had him, but apparently not. But I'm not one of those who think Speaker is arguably equivalent to Cobb.
   24. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: October 17, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4274659)
Hank Aaron's neutralized batting page on BBREF is fun. If you put him in a good run environment like 2005, he ends up with 850 HRs, 2700 RBI, etc.
   25. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: October 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4274718)
I have a historical league in OOTP, one I started in 1901 and am currently in 1965. Before each draft, I prepare for the draft by (among other things) looking over the stats of all the rookies. I like this tradition because I learn about guys I didn't know much about, or had just heard about in stories.

Of all the players that I have seen, the one that surprised me with how good he was was Hank Aaron. I know, that sounds stupid, there are few ballplayers as famous as him, and it wasn't like I didn't know about his records. But man, just take a minute to peruse his stat lines over at BBRef. The guy may not have been the best in the league many years, but he was an MVP candidate for 19 consecutive years. For 19 straight years he was an all-star caliber player. It is just unreal.

I know Aaron was not as good as Ruth or Williams or Bonds or whatever, but only once has someone's career stats actually made me awestruck.
   26. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4274826)
Aaron's average season, over the 19 years he drew at least one MVP vote:
150 games, 29 doubles, 5 triples, 37 homers, 12/4 SB/CS, 105 runs, 109 RBI, 162 OPS+. And he could play some outfield, too.

Of course, his teammmate Warren Spahn averaged a 20-12, 124 ERA+, 278 IP season over 17 years... man, what was in the water there?
   27. Steve Treder Posted: October 17, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4274833)
He might be the most consistent player MLB has ever seen, although not sure what happened in 1964.

Yeah, that's always intrigued me. I've looked in many books and guidebooks and stuff, but I've never found an explanation. (I haven't done any kind of systematic or exhaustive search, but I have checked multiple sources where you'd think you might find something addressing it.)

I presume he might have had a nagging wrist injury or something that made him shorten his swing and focus on contact for a large portion of the season. But I don't know. And of course it could just be random.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: October 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM (#4274851)
He might be the most consistent player MLB has ever seen, although not sure what happened in 1964.


I'm missing it, what is wrong with his 1964? If I had to pick an anomalous year, I would have picked 1960 (not looking at ops+, but you see his average drop below .310(.292) for his first time ever, his obp was .352 which was .020 below his career average and would be his lowest obp of his career until he hits 40. He still led the league in total bases though, so it wasn't a wasted year, just not as consistently great as his other years. 1964 aberration is 145 games, so it looks like he was on the DL, it happens I guess, but his numbers seem to be in line with his career averages.
   29. Steve Treder Posted: October 17, 2012 at 10:42 PM (#4274976)
1964 aberration is 145 games, so it looks like he was on the DL, it happens I guess, but his numbers seem to be in line with his career averages.

Look at his home run rate, and his strikeout rate, in comparison with the seasons closely around.

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