Meeting Willie Mays & Hank Aaron

18 Apr

Hank Aaron Stadium – Mobile, Alabama (April 14, 2010)

Crowd gathering for Hank Aaron’s childhood home dedication. A star-studded group of baseball personalities make the trip to Mobile for the festivities. The guest list included Reggie Jackson, Willie Mays, Commisioner Bud Selig, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Bruce Sutter, Bob Feller, and others.

Southern Belles were all gussied up for the big event.

Hank’s home was re-located to Gas Light Park on stadium grounds.

Hank shaking hands with local VIPs & politicians. He looked great.

It was a pleasure to squeeze Henry’s strong right hand.

The exterior & front porch of Hank’s boyhood home, originally built by Hank’s father.

Video exhibit inside the recently renovated home.

Hank Aaron’s “Jackie Robinson Legacy Award.”

Visitors gaze at the extensive collection of Aaron memorabilia.

One of Hank’s nicknames was, of course, “The Hammer.”

Family stove and brick-a-brack once used in the Aaron home.

More of Hank’s awards and memories.

Trophy recognizing Hank’s record setting 715th homer.

Hank was pretty intense when he had a bat in his hands.

Henry’s #44 Braves uniform and portrait (above)

I was gladly re-united with my old pal, Bob “Rapid Robert” Feller. Bob and I first met about 13 years ago when I was the GM of the Meridian Brakemen professional baseball club. Feller once served on the USS Alabama battleship, which now resides in Mobile Bay. “Rapid Robert” was voted baseball’s greatest living pitcher a few years back and you won’t get an argument from me.

Bullet Bob Feller could bring some serious heat way back in the day.

It’s the great “Say Hey Kid” – Willie Mays!

Willie getting ready to toss baseball to anxious fans.

I chatted with Willie as he relaxed in a beautiful Bentley ragtop. He was tired after traveling 12 hours from his home in Northern CA. Willie said he flew from SF to Dallas, Dallas to New Orleans, and then drove from New Orleans to Mobile. Willie apparently does not do small airplanes. What a sweet old guy he turned out to be – I really enjoyed our brief time together. Mays recently had eye surgery for cataracts and doesn’t see very well any more. Plus it was a sticky spring day in Mobile and the intense sun was starting to get to him. It was cool seeing him in a Mobile BayBears hat.

For more pictures from this once in a lifetime event, go to the following link:–&_bqO=27

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