Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hate mail targets Aaron again

ATLANTA — Forty years after he received waves of racist hate mail as he chased Babe Ruth's record of 714 home runs, Hank Aaron has been reliving the experience all over again the past week.

A large number of vile letters, emails and phone calls have "poured into the Atlanta Braves offices," USA Today reported. They were in reaction to comments Aaron, 80, made to the paper concerning the old hate mail that he stores in the attic of his Atlanta home.

Explaining why he keeps the decades-old letters, Aaron in an April 8 story said they served as a constant reminder of the blight of racism. As Aaron veered into politics, he spoke of the stalemate between President Barack Obama and Republicans. He also spoke of the different form — a more white-collar form — that racism took today.

As the story was constructed, some interpreted his comments as likening Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan. That interpretation spread through conservative media, triggering an outpouring of correspondence to the Braves, some of it littered with racial epithets.

In a story Tuesday on those letters, writer Bob Nightengale included a clarification of his original interview with Aaron:

"Never in our 50-minute conversation did Aaron suggest anyone critical of President Obama is racist. Never did he compare the Republican Party to the Ku Klux Klan. Simply, Aaron stated that we are fooling ourselves if we don't believe racism exists in our country. It's simply camouflaged now. And, yes, he feels sorry for his good friend, President Obama, and the frustrations he endures."

TOP prospect gets call: Prized outfield prospect George Springer joined the Astros from Triple-A Oklahoma City and made his major-league debut. Springer, 24, was batting .353 with a .459 on-base percentage and a .647 slugging percentage at Oklahoma City.

CARDINALS: RHP Joe Kelly left his start in the sixth when he strained his left hamstring while trying to beat out a grounder.

METS: The contract of veteran RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka was selected from Triple-A Las Vegas.

NATIONALS: OF Bryce Harper was scratched with tightness in his left quad.

PIRATES: LF Jose Tabata was helped off the field after he slammed into the wall while making a catch in the fifth inning. The team said he appeared to have a mild concussion.

RANGERS: LHP Joe Saunders, out since getting hit by a line drive April 4 at Tampa Bay, cut short a bullpen session because of pain in his left ankle.

YANKEES: The team honored the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, with a plaque in Monument Park as part of their Jackie Robinson Day festivities.

Hate mail targets Aaron again 04/16/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    The Rays take on the Orioles again tonight and will face another old friend for the first time, as RHP Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for the home team.

    Hellickson was drafted by the Rays in 2005 and pitched for them from 2010-14, then was traded to Arizona. He has since bounced to the Phillies and …

  2. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  3. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  4. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  5. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.