Hammerin’ Hank Aaron was briefly also bricklaying Hank at the first brick ceremony for the Braves’ new stadium. 
Photo: J. Scott Trubey / STAFF
Photo: J. Scott Trubey / STAFF

First brick set at SunTrust Park

Hank Aaron, other dignitaries participate in brick ceremony

Treasures are now buried at SunTrust Park.

Eutis Morris — the man who laid the first concrete block at Fulton County Stadium, along with the first and last bricks at Olympic Stadium, which later became Turner Field — buried one of the treasures just before setting the stadium’s first brick in a wet cushion of mortar Thursday morning.

Morris, 83, didn’t just personify tradition by placing the first of what will eventually be 775,000 bricks at the Braves’ new home. He continued another by burying a 50-cent piece in the mortar, before expertly positioning the brick over it and scraping off excess mud with a trowel.

“It’s always been a tradition to put a 50-cent piece under the first brick of an important building like this. I didn’t have a 50-cent piece so I was going to use two quarters,” Morris said to a round of laughter. But “a gentlemen had one in his truck, and he has donated it.”

After Morris, a gathering of dignitaries, including Braves legend Hank Aaron, took their turn with the trowel.

“As a boy, working for my father in Mobile, Alabama … I learned a little bit about laying bricks,” Aaron said. “But don’t hold me to it.”

The silver coin isn’t the only buried treasure. Two time capsules — filled with everything from a 1948 World Series program and a baseball signed by the Braves 1995 championship team, to parts of the Big Chicken — were sealed in concrete near the newly installed bricks.

Morris said there are coins under the first and last bricks he installed at Turner Field.

But Morris said he was a young mason and didn’t know about the tradition when he installed the first concrete block at Fulton County Stadium in 1965, as an employee for the Dixie Construction Company.

“I just wanted to carry on the tradition,” Morris said.

SunTrust Park, the $672 million ballpark, is scheduled to open in April 2017.

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