Hank Aaron, 1952 Indianapolis Clowns Negro League – chocolate bubble gum card

1952 was Aaron’s only season in the Negro Leagues.  It was tough for young Henry Aaron, being away from home and traveling around in a rickety bus.  Most of the guys on the team were twice his age, and they didn’t go out of their way to make friends with the quiet young man who arrived batting cross-handed.  In fact, Hank had decided in June of that year that he would quit baseball and head home to Mobile, and maybe find a job or join the Army like his older brother.  He said as much in a letter sent home to his mother.

aaron1Henry’s mother mentioned the letter to Hank’s older brother Herbert, an Army soldier stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia, when he came home for a visit on a weekend pass.

aaron2Herbert placed a long distance call to Henry, who was in Minneapolis practicing for a game at the time.  When he finally got through, they had to call Henry in from the field to take the call.  He worried, Why would his brother be calling long distance? Was something wrong at home? He rushed into the clubhouse to take the call.  It was his brother, just calling to cheer Hank up.  Henry admitted he was homesick, and declared he would be coming home in a few days.  His brother pointed out that he had felt the same way when he first went off to Army basic training.  Herbert told him, “I don’t have much time to talk, so listen.  You need to stay up there and play baseball. Mama and Daddy are getting along just fine.  Don’t quit, concentrate on playing baseball like I know you can.”

In those days, long distance calls were expensive. The coins spent on that call made it necessary for Herbert to hitchhike back to Fort Benning – he didn’t have enough left for bus fare.  But the encouragement he gave little brother Henry was enough to keep him in baseball. It was the most important phone call in Hank’s life – including the one he received from the President of the United States when he broke Babe Ruth’s record!

This card was issued by King Cards

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