Monday, February 27, 2012

1969 TOPPS HANK AARON

FEW HAD HIS FOCUS
TO ACCOMPLISH THE JOB AT HAND.
PUNCHED HIS TICKET TO COOPERSTOWN IN '68,
BUT THE BEST WAS STILL TO COME.

THE FRONT PAGE

  • Hank Aaron was at a card show in Tampa in the late '80s when I bought this card to get his autograph. This is one of my favorite Aaron issues, and I debated having it autographed because it's in such good condition but glad I did. It's a sweet autograph. He was a fairly friendly signer.

THE BACK PAGE

  • The '69s are really clean and readable.
  • Anybody for some salmon?
  •  So only seven players previously reached the exclusive 500 Home Run Club? Sheesh, how many have "accomplished'' that today, like 250?

PHOTO PLAY

  • Aaron never had a defining action card; he had a lot of similar batting pose shots. Still, I love this photo with the '69 design.

EXTRA, EXTRA

  • Aaron is the All-Time Home Run King with 755. He would set the record five years later on April 8, 1974, connecting off Al Downing.
  •  I remember watching the game on TV and telling my dad he's going to do it tonight. He just had a determined look about him in the batter's box. Sure enough, he pushed The Babe to No. 2 all-time in the fourth inning.
  • What Henry Aaron overcame to set the record is truly a testament of incredible talent and the ability to focus under pressure. Pressure of passing the game's greatest player in Babe Ruth? Some. I'm talking life-and-death pressure from numerous cowards issuing death threats and sending hate mail. 
  • I can only imagine what he was thinking when rounding second base and that one "fan'' ran out onto the field to pat him on the back. 
  • In '69, Hammer would pass Mickey Mantle with his 537th homer. For the season, Aaron hit 44. Interesting, he hit 44 four times, which, of course, was his iconic jersey number. 
  • Isn't it amazing that despite being the all-time home run leader, he led the league in homers only four times and won only one MVP ('57, when Milwaukee won the World Series)? 
  • In addition to home runs, Aaron is the all-time leader in RBI (2,297) and total bases (6,856).

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