Hank Aaron's Hero Let Him Down

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When it comes to talking about steroids, many Hall Of Fame players have shied away from making bold proclamations to either condemn or or exonerate the accused. But for years the public believed that juice was solely the domain of the slugger and was always waiting to hear what Home Run King Hank Aaron had to say. When America finally pulled its head out of its collective ass to realize that McGwire/Bonds/Sosa were probably on drugs, Aaron stayed out of it. Over the past year he's started to poke at the issue as so many of his generation are now poking at their dinner. It had been mostly insinuation until yesterday when Aaron actually put the names "Bonds" and "Clemens" in a quote about steroids.

"I'm just saddened by it," said Aaron, who held the all-time home run record until Bonds broke it in 2007. "I'm not a judge and I'm not a juror and I don't know who's guilty and who's what. I'm just saddened for baseball and saddened for Clemens and Bonds, both."

Aaron said he hasn't given any thought to whether Bonds' or Clemens' numbers should stand, be wiped away or accompanied by asterisk.

"I have too much to worry about to worry about Clemens and Bonds," he said.

It's a remark nearly not worth commenting on*. A remark so forlorn and hangdog that one really just wants to take Aaron out for ice cream and tell him to cheer up. Except that at the commemoration of the Bud Selig statue two weeks ago Aaron said the following

"Bud Selig is my hero," Aaron said. "He has taken baseball to a better place than where he found it."

So either he was just trying to be nice at the statue appearance (and if that's the case why even show up, you're Hank Aaron) or he is truly under the misapprehension that guys like Bonds and Clemens are isolated cases. Villains of poor moral fiber who snuck their dirty needles in the clubhouse past the watchful eye of the owners and their benevolent leader Bud. Phooey, dude. It's fine to be sad or angry or self-righteous or whatever about the steroid thing (if you want, I don't) but don't say it a few days after praising the man who was too busy counting money and ticket stubs to notice while it went down. We love Hank, but maybe his memory just aint what it used to be.

*especially in light of his other, very relevant, remarks on blacks in baseball from the same article.


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In his spare time, Liakos likes to point out historical inaccuracies in stories by WWII veterans.

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