“The city decided it was going to be a city too busy to hate,” Young said. “Bringing the baseball team in was one of the ways saying that Atlanta was going to be a big-league city.”
Of course with Aaron, everyone wanted to know about the night he hit his 715th home run in a 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jerry Royster, who spent 16 years playing major league baseball, stood up and told Aaron he was in the dugout with the Dodgers that night. Even with the opposing team, he was so excited when the ball sailed over the fence he said that he jumped up and hit his head on the roof of the dugout.
Aaron didn’t spend much time reflecting on how he felt when he broke Babe Ruth’s record, but recalled the moments that were the most important to him.
“It was a great night, and after it was over with, my wife and I went home to pray and thank the Lord for blessing us,” Aaron said.
When Prince Deboskie from Chandler, Arizona, asked Aaron what it was like being a black baseball player during his era, he had a lot to say.
As a teenager, Aaron saw Jackie Robinson break the game’s color barrier. The early days for black players in baseball were tough, he said.
“I felt all alone … (just hoping) they would give me an opportunity, just a chance,” Aaron said.
He recalled a time he skipped school to go to one of Robinson’s events for youth baseball players. While he doesn’t recommend the athletes today do the same, he does feel good knowing in some ways it’s come full circle for him.
The athletes will take the field at 9 a.m. Saturday for the game. Aaron passes on his perspective, hoping the athletes walk away from the week’s events with the same values he’s learned.
“Baseball is a promise to some of us, and sometimes its promise to none of us,” Aaron said. “But the most important thing is to do the very best that you can.