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Bud Selig, the Braves still think Hank Aaron is the all-time home run leader

Apr 9, 2014, 8:14 AM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Last I checked 762 > 755, but don’t tell that to the Commissioner of Baseball or anyone associated with the Atlanta Braves:

Speaking with reporters after the ceremony, Selig was asked about Aaron being called the true home run king.

“I’m always in a sensitive spot there, but I’ve said that myself and I’ll just leave it at that,” Selig said.

If that’s the standard we are well and truly screwed, because these are things Bud has also said himself:

  • No one wants replay
  • Abner Doubleday invented baseball
  • We’re committed to finding a solution to the A’s stadium situation
  • We tried to keep the Expos in Montreal.

As a long-time friend of Hank Aaron’s Selig is obviously going to be partial to the guy and you can’t begrudge him his personal feelings. As the Commissioner of Baseball, however, he has an obligation to either recognize the records set as legitimate or to do something to render them officially illegitimate. He can’t have it both ways.

The Braves will always want it that way, of course:

During the ceremony Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said Aaron “set the home-run record the old-fashioned way” and added “You will always be the home run king of all time.”

Retired Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren earned a big ovation when he said Aaron is “still recognized as baseball’s true home run king.”

When McGuirk and Van Wieren agree to vacate the wins with which the Braves were credited while David Justice, Gary Sheffield, Darren Holmes, John Rocker, Paul Byrd, Mike Stanton, Matt Franco, Denny Neagle, Todd Pratt and Kent Mercker were on the team, fine, then they can have their own true home run king. Until then, they’d be better served to let baseball’s records fall where they may.

  1. unlost1 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    i love the line, “you don’t have a right to your own facts” and i have no idea how it disappeared. Anyway, with Selig, it’s probably a Milwaukee thing.

  2. adenzeno - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    One of the issues that gets lost in the steroid debate is that by using them, not only were athletes able to be stronger, this same strength may have prevented a career ending/limiting injury such as Mattingly’s back, various pitcher’s arm injuries, maybe a severely pulled hamstring that lands them on the DL from time to time etc etc…..The fact that the posession and use of these was/is illegal (not just by baseball rules, but by law) is also something to think about. Like it or not, athletes are role models. If you are reading this blog, you probably had a player whom you emulated as a kid-Seaver, Rose, Bench, Yount, Ozzie, Ripken, Reggie……you wanted to do what they did the way they did it….kids today are no different than we were- My HS players try to emulate current ML players…

  3. drs76109 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Bring baseball back to Montreal!

    • renaado - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

      I support this entirely.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:06 AM

        Only if they agree to re-open Ruby Foo’s on the mezzanine for dim sum.

      • renaado - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:10 AM

        Ruby Foo’s? I do know Dim sum though but.. Is Ruby Foo a restaurant name or a building establishment’s name?

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        It was the finest, most historic Chinese restaurant of Montreal’s golden culinary age before the Parti Quebecois took power, instituted their fascistic language laws, and spurred the Anglo exodus to Toronto and points west that reduced the economy of Canada’s most prosperous city to the economic equivalent of Tokyo after Godzilla. I ate there several times – long ago, obviously – when my parents took me up to Montreal on business trips. It was a must-do if you were visiting the Royal Mountain.

        And even now, I can remember vividly that the food was freakin’ exceptional. I had a spicy pan fried scallop dish there that I expect to taste again on my deathbed.

        Here’s an interessin’ story about the place:

      • renaado - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        Wow… Truly an amazing story right there Old Gator, I thank you for introducing this to a youth like me on understanding more about Ruby Foo’s ghost. When the time comes I really hope I could visit this there.

  4. jeffbbf - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    ahhh…the anti-Bud crusade continues. It’s just a tired, boring act now. He’ll be gone soon, and you’ll have to work hard to find reasons to bitch about the new guy.

    • dcarroll73 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:52 AM

      Actually Bud won’t be gone anywhere near soon enough (like 20 years ago) and based on all past precedence I doubt if ANYONE will have to work hard at all to find reasons that the new Commish s*cks too (the simplest and easiest reason is he is by definition a tool of the owners.)

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        Not to mention that Bud hisself designated and blessed him.

  5. joshtown81 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Hey Craig,

    I was actually at last night’s game, and it was a pleasure to see Hank address the crowd, and the nice video package they aired before it. I think the reason he’s so beloved here in Atlanta and around the South is he taught an entire city, chalked full with white people, that it was ok to cheer for a black man, and actually root for him to take a place in history. Most of the hate mail he received was actually post marked from up North, because down here we considered him a king, and still do.

    I’m 32, my wife, who’s new(ish) to baseball, is 29, and last night even she was able to comprehend what a magnificent achievement it was, not just because of hitting 715, but because we had a living legend in the ballpark, who played alongside/against guys like Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, etc, and was able to block out the constant barrage of negativity during a time where racial segregation was still VERY much on the minds of people in this town.

    As you’ve pointed out (several times), yes, 762 is a larger number than 755. I don’t dispute that, and even said to my wife last night it’s unfortunate he’s no longer the record holder. But I quickly followed that up with “though I don’t think anyone really cares,” because we don’t. Yes, we say things like “the true home run king,” but that’s as much about where we’ve placed that man in our collective conscious, as a hero to the city and an inspiration to millions of black children in the 50’s and 60s, than it is about him hitting 755 (which yes, is less than 762).

    We hold Aaron’s record in a different class because, to be quite honest, he is in a different class than Barry Bonds. Baseball more than any other sport is a way for families to connect, parents to bring not just their boys, but little girls as well. Henry Aaron is the type of player we aspire our kids to be, or the kind we wanted to be when we were growing up. And if saying something like “the true home run king” helps instill a sense of morality or ethical behavior or whatever it may be, then I have absolutely no problem using the phrase.

    I think you need to take a look at what the point of saying something like that is, vs. just the words themselves. If Kobe scores more points in his career than Kareem, you won’t find anyone saying “yeah, but Kareem is still the TRUE points king.” Or if Manning throws more touchdown passes than Favre, no one will say “yeah, but Favre is the TRUE touchdown king.” With Aaron and Bonds, there really is a grey area, and it would do you some good to show some humility in understanding that, as opposed to reminding us once again that 762 is more than 755, which we all understand and accept. Barry Bonds hit more home runs than Hank Aaron. We just choose to salute a different king.

    • renaado - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      Truly a wonderful insight.. I thank you for putting this joshtown81 not just from me but other people who are reading this now.

    • adenzeno - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:37 AM

      Your inner Posnanski is showing…WELL WRITTEN!!!

    • sophiethegreatdane - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      “We just choose to salute a different king.”

      I think that’s the basis of the whole thing. Very well stated.

      Personally,I acknowledge Bonds as the record holder. But I also acknowledge that, whether or not PED’s helped Bonds — that’s an argument for another time — the controversy surrounding the man and his methods has tainted people’s love of what used to be the most hallowed record in all of sports.

      MLB won’t put an asterisk next to Bonds name, but the public will. The “Hank Aaron is the True Home Run King” crowd is the manifestation of that idea. And if people want to embrace that because they want to love the record, and love the man that holds the record, then so be it.

      I don’t see any reason to get all up in arms about it. The things that people love don’t have to make sense at all to anyone else.

    • moogro - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:03 PM

      White people as chalk.

    • shyts7 - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Couldn’t of said it better myself! Like I’ve said as well, the average fan can tell you Aaron and Ruth’s HR total. The average fan can not tell you Bonds’ number because the average fan knows Bonds needed help to achieve that number therefore that number is a bit hollow.

  6. miguelcairo - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    I like how Wil Myers doesn’t wear batting gloves.

    • cur'68 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      We know this as WARBANG: Wins Above Replacement, Batting Average No Gloves. Matt Carpenter also has high WARBANG. Hank Aaron? Off the charts.

      • stex52 - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        I swear, Cur. If you keep making up all of these crazy acronyms we have to remember, some friends of mine are going to pay you a visit. And little Bella is going to wonder how her meal ticket floated out to sea that last time. :-)

  7. nsstlfan - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    I believe Hank Aaron is the all time record holder and Roger Maris is the single season record holder.

    • clydeserra - Apr 9, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      So you are on “who wants to be a millionaire the question is “who holds the all time home run record in major league baseball?”

      the answers are Barry bonds, Henry Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays.

      Who do you choose?

  8. apeville - Apr 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM


    Bonds is the record holder.

    Hank is the most revered home run hitter.

  9. doctorofsmuganomics - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    and they would be wrong

    All hail Big Head Bonds

  10. disgracedfury - Apr 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Bud created the Home Run King.

  11. mikhelb - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Blogs and editorialized columns are for expressing an author’s opinion and shouldn’t be subjected to censorship nor attempts to censor it… except when Craig C. thinks somebody is wrong by expressing their own opinilns and he has to write against what somebody wrote.

    Point in case: send him a link to ANY story against PED users and he’ll write opossing that opinion instead of respecting what somebody else thinks.

    And it is OK, it is something we all do.

  12. mikhelb - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Babe Ruth can’t be the Homerun King because he didn’t face black players.

    Hank Aaron thus can’t be the Homerun King” because he only faced a small amount of black players, hispanic players and asian players.

    Barry Bonds can’t be the Homerun King because he faced black players, hispanic players BUT not asian players (except for Nomo and that japanese pitcher the Mets had).

    Thus the true Homerun King is… mmh Alex Rodríguez?! How about that?

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