The first Henry Aaron spring training of 1954

Baseball is back.  I don't care for 12 teams in the post season, but at least the game is back. 
Here in Texas, ownership opened up the off-season wallets and brought big names like Corey Seager to the new stadium. And there's one other thing that bears thinking about: 
The great Henry Aaron passed away in January 2021.  Shortly after, the "woke" MLB Commissioner moved the All Star Game from Atlanta to Denver.  He denied Atlanta's businesses a lot of money and the opportunity to remember the great Aaron.
Back in 1954, a young Hank Aaron went to spring training hoping to go north with the Braves.  He had been in the Braves system for a few years, as reported by The Society for Baseball Research:    
On June 14, 1952, Aaron signed with Braves scout Dewey Griggs, and reported to the Class C Eau Claire Bears. There the coaches helped him eliminate his cross-handed batting grip, and the results were staggering. The infielder, despite playing in only 87 games, batted .336 with nineteen doubles and not only earned a spot on the league’s All-Star squad, but at the end of the season was selected as the Northern League’s Rookie of the Year. 
So Aaron came into camp with a reputation but was probably not ready to break into a major league lineup.  Back then, there were 8 teams in each league compared to 15 today.  In other words, there were 400 major league positions to fill compared to 750 today.
On this day in 1954, an injury to veteran Bobby Thomson opened the door for the young Aaron.   Giants fans may remember that Thomson hit that famous home run to win the NL pennant in 1951, i.e. The Giants win the pennant, the Giants win the pennant.

Young Aaron made the team and hit his first home run against old Yankee Vic Raschi, now with the Cardinals, in the first two weeks of the season.  He batted .280 with 13 HR & 69 RBI.  Aaron was 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Wally Moon, Ernie Banks and Gene Conley.
And as they say the rest is history ... and 755 home runs.
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Image: Pixabay / Pixabay License
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