When Aaron came to bat in the bottom of the second, no one was sitting in their seats. And when Los Angeles lefty Al Downing walked Aaron I howled with derision as my hero casually trotted down to first. “Throw him a strike!” I yelled, along with thousands of others.
When Aaron got his second chance in the fourth inning, Downing’s first pitch was in the dirt. More boos followed, and I began to feel despair. Was Aaron ever going to get a pitch to hit? Maybe this wasn’t going to be the night.
But Downing’s next pitch changed everything. It was in the Hammer’s wheelhouse.
I can still remember the crack of the bat – Aaron’s first swing of the game – and the ball taking a path I’d seen so many times before. What followed next was sheer pandemonium.
I’ll never forget the feeling I had when he rounded third, touched home plate and was enveloped in a bear hug by his mother, Estella. My entire body was tingling with joy, and the immense feeling wouldn’t go away. Tears streamed down my cheeks.
It almost seemed like a dream. Did this really happen? But reality set back in when I gave my dad my own bear hug, thanking him so much for getting the tickets. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.