From Melanie Tucker at The (Maryville) Daily Times on August 2, on SABR member Bryan Steverson’s new book:
When Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron had his first try-out with the Brooklyn Dodgers, scouts took one look and told him to go back home.
“You’re too small to play baseball,” the scout reportedly shouted at him. He was young, skinny and barely weighed 150 pounds.
And when Aaron climbed his way up from the Negro Leagues’ Indianapolis Clowns to the Milwaukee Braves, he was given uniform No. 5. “You’re too skinny to have a double digit number,” his team told him.
This small-in-stature young man from Mobile, Ala. went on to spend 23 years in the Major Leagues, increased his uniform No. to 44 and surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record, hitting No. 715 on April 8, 1974.
Bryan Steverson, a resident of Maryville, baseball historian, fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox, ALCOA Inc. retiree and writer, has collected stories like this one for his new book, entitled “Amazing Baseball Heroes: Inspirational Negro League Stories.” Steverson knows most baseball fans can recite stats from their favorite or admired players; another book on those wasn’t something he was interested in writing. Instead, this retiree of ALCOA, father of five and grandfather to nine, set out with a loftier goal — he wanted to help us get to know the boys and men behind the heroes.
Originally published: August 2, 2011. Last Updated: August 2, 2011.