On April 8th, 1974, Hank Aaron took an Al Downing pitch over the outfield wall in the fourth inning to break Babe Ruth’s career home run record. Tonight, in addition to the Braves home opener, the team will celebrate the 40th anniversary of that home run.
Dodgers announcer Vin Scully was announcing the game for LA, and had this to say on air:
“What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron. … And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months.”
Ranking correction: I was a bit dismayed when the Braves opened the year ranked 12th on ESPN’s Power Rankings. Luckily the brain trust at the World Wide Leader have corrected their algorithm for week 2, and the Braves find themselves ranked 4th. Sounds about right (actually, maybe too optimistic).
Rocker related reading: I usually don’t indulge in John Rocker stories — they’re a sideshow at this point. But this piece is a good recounting of the original SI article from the reporter who wrote that article.
Hanson: The White Sox signed Tommy Hanson to a minor league contract.
Holbert the record holder: M-Braves manager Aaron Holbert holds a modern era record for most days between his first and second major league game played. Nice coordination between the blog Tomahawk Take and M-Braves broadcaster Kyle Tait for tracking this down… read more here.
Double header split is Sip: Mississippi won then lost. It should be safe to say that J.R. Graham is back from his shoulder woes last season, and that he should probably be starting. This was his line from game-1: 5IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 3SO. Pretty gosh darn dominating. Reliever Ryne Harper allowed a weak Texas-Leaguer to drop in for the only hit of the game that the M-Braves pitching staff gave up.
In game-2 the M-Braves couldn’t muster any offense, only scoring 1 run on 3 hits… while striking out 13 times.
Rained out: The Gwinnett Braves and Rome Braves games were both rained out. Lynchburg was off. Gavin Floyd makes his second rehab start tonight for Gwinnett.
POTW: G-Braves first baseman Ernesto Mejia was named the International League player of the week for the first week of the season. While Ernesto only hit .308 (4-for-13), all four of his hits were home runs. He is now Gwinnett’s all-time home run leader, with 55.