DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — “I usually check my phone throughout the day USA Today to see if there is any breaking news and saw that Hank Aaron passed,” Former MLB player Mike Mordecai said.
That news left the hearts of sports fans and of course, former players shattered. Mike Mordecai is a former Braves player and currently Northside Methodist Academy head baseball coach and he says Hank meant a lot to the game as he was a very unique person.
“A man who boarded a train, 17 years old, hit crossed handed he was a right-handed hitter but and his left hand on top and right hand on the bottom to go play for the Indianapolis Clowns I beleive is the team he played for to start with and didnt stay very long.
And from there he joined the Braves organization and was in the big leagues in no time after color barriers were broken in 1945 by Jackie Robinson.
“The integration in baseball and the way Negro League was looked at at the time things were a lot tougher and they had to earn respect over and over and one of the most humble people you would ever meet,” Mordecai said.
As for the record books, Aaron was a slugger with over 3,000 hits and 755 homers. Mordecai says he remembers watching the day ‘Hammerin Hank’ passed Babe Ruth on the list and Aaron’s accomplishment stuck out to him on a personal level years later.
“After playing the dodgers and having Vin Scully call my name and broke Babe Ruth’s record I felt like I finally made it. It’s just tough to lose a guy like him he was an awesome man.
Not only did Hank get the job done on the field, but he also played a vital role in the Civil Rights Movement.
“I’m so glad they gave the Negro league players the association to be a part of the Major Leagues because without all of those guys it wouldn’t be complete because they deserve it. Recently, I went to the Negro League Museum and I was soaking it all in and I couldn’t imagine what they went through,” He said.
Mordecai says he grew up studying these legends and playing in the backyard imitating them. He says it’s a sad sight seeing legends like Hank Aaron leave the world but their legacy will live on forever.