Well, I wasn't there, seeing as how I was 16 years, one month and 10 days from being born, but my dad was. He grew up in Florida but since there were no teams in the state, his closest team was, of course, the Braves. He recently gave me a couple cool pieces of Braves' history.
He wasn't able to get to many Braves games as a kid but did ride the bus to the minor league park in Jacksonville to watch young Mets players develop. He told me he spent an entire summer sitting next to Tom Seaver's wife watching he husband pitch. I can say that I'm glad his experience with the Mets minor leaguers didn't translate into supporting the New York team. I shudder to think of what I would be like as a Mets fan.
Anyway, my dad's aunt worked with Hank's mom and she was able to get him and his family tickets to the July 14th game in Atlanta against the Giants. You'll have to excuse the picture quality. I took it with my Droid.
In the third inning of the game Aaron hit a ball deep off San Fran's Mike McCormick. History was made, as Aaron became the eighth man to reach the plateau. The Braves ended up winning the game 4-2, bolstered by Aaron's 3 RBIs and a strong pitching performance by Ron Reed.
The official attendance that night was 34,283, and as the spectators filed out of the park they were given a card to commemorate (and brag to others) the occasion.
Man, I suck at taking pictures indoors. I can take great pictures of race cars traveling 150 MPH but trying to get a picture of a freaking card sitting on my desk is hard.
But I digress. Sure the game was over, but the night didn't end there. My father got the thrill of a lifetime. He didn't just get to meet Hank Aaron. No, he was invited to Hank's house. I'm not sure if it was a big party or if it was just Hank Aaron's family and my dad's family, but he told me that he ended up watching Bonanza with the baseball great. That makes me assume it was rather subdued. Who wants to watch TV at a big party, right?
Dad spent some time with Hank and he ended up getting a number of signed balls from Aaron and one with the entire team's autographs on it. Royhobbs's comment about Freeman signing the ball in his minor league article made me chuckle because I've got this:
My dad always says that July 14th, 1968 was the biggest thrill of his life and that he wishes he could meet Hank again to thank him. I'd like to come along.