Aaron Still The Hero, Not Bonds
"I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating." Sophocles
No matter how many juiced up sluggers like Barry Bonds come along, the man to beat is, was and always will be Hank Aaron. Period.
Hank Aaron is a hero's hero. Dignified. Decent. Honorable. Hard working. True to himself and his sport.
He's a man who showed up and did his job--brilliantly--even in the face of ugly racism on and off the field. A man who relied on hard work and his own god-given talent--not drugs, Never drugs--to reach the pinnacle of his profession.
So how in god's name can he be compared to or bested by the likes of Barry Bonds? He can't. And he never will be in the eyes of many.
Yet on paper Bonds broke Aaron's home run record.
A different kind of person would have cried FOUL. Refused to acknowledge a drug-fueled "accomplishment" by someone so widely and openly believed to have cheated.
The Commissioner of Baseball has been ducking the whole Bonds issue from the beginning, for cryin out loud.
But not a stand up guy like Hank Aaron. Here's what he said in a video shown at Giants Stadium after Bonds hit his 756th home run:
I would like to offer my congratulations to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career home run leader. It is a great accomplishment which required skill, longevity and determination.Mr. Aaron is a true gentleman and a credit to baseball. My hope today, and always, is that others will continue to be inspired by Hank Aaron, not Barry Bonds.
Throughout the past century, the home run has held a special place in baseball, and I have been privileged to hold this record for 33 of those years. I move over now and offer my best wishes to Barry and his family on this historic achievement.
My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.