From the Back Cover
On April 8, 1999, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Major League Baseball celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Henry Aaron’s 715th home run, which propelled him past Babe Ruth to the top of the game’s all-time home run list. Those expecting to recapture the spark of that long-ago moment may have felt a letdown. The ceremony, while touching and heartfelt, was a made-for- television event that featured stock-footage clips of Aaron and a few neatly crafted tomes recited in Aaron’s honor. In retrospect, there may have been no tribute more fitting, for the Aaron with whom we have become comfortable is, after all, a creation of the media.
On that evening in 1999, baseball again got a fleeting look at the home run king, acknowledging the cheers, his eyes moist. Fans added this image to everything they know of him and what little they know of him. His is a portrait fifty years in the making which, in truth, is no more than a highly detailed caricature, exquisitely embellished yet somehow still lacking in substance.
More than a sports bio” of a baseball icon, HAMMERING HANK is a fascinating account of how the media shaped Henry Aaron, baseball’s most prolific home run hitter. It is, first and foremost, the story of a baseball life. But it also is a look at a life affected more than most by events outside of baseball. Long before Aaron became part of the national landscape, he was a reflection of it. And try as he might to shut out the world around him, the forces of that worldwith all their complexities and indignities and randomnesswere always very much a part of him.
About the Author
Mark Stewart and Mike Kennedy are principals in the custom publishing firm Black Book Partners, and have contributed to two previous Lyons Press titles: Rush to Judgment and Mummy Dearest. Stewart, a graduate of Duke University, has authored more than one hundred nonfiction books, and is one of the creators of the popular sports information Web site JockBio.com. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. Kennedy has published a dozen books on various sports subjects and collaborated with Stewart on at least a dozen more. Kennedy graduated from Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Colorado. He is managing editor of JockBio.com