Anyone involved with baseball has a Hank Aaron story.
Jim Powell, the Brewers radio announcer from 1996 through 2008, who now works in the Braves broadcast booth, knew Hammerin’ Hank differently than most.
Like every baseball player, fan or front-office employee, Powell is devastated by the loss of Aaron, who died today at 86. Powell was also the broadcaster partner of fellow Hall of Famer Don Sutton, the former Brewers pitched who passed away this week, as well.
“I am truly in mourning,” Powell said from Atlanta, where he grew up as a Braves fan.
“I was 9-years-old when my elementary school class listened live to the call of his record-breaking home run at Mountain Park Elementary in Atlanta,” said Powell,
“I got to meet and get to know Mr. Aaron in Milwaukee when he would come town to raise money for charity each year. He graciously allowed me to interview him every year. You would never know the way he suffered while chasing Babe Ruth and breaking unbreakable barriers in his life by his actions and words.”
Of his many memories with the legend, Powell recalled one with the Brewers and one with the Braves.
“I got to ride in a car with Mr. Aaron as we enjoyed a champagne toast while transporting home plate from Turner Field to Truist Park and that drive has always been surreal for me, as was emceeing the ground-breaking at Miller Park with him.”
But, like the rest of us, Powell said he struggles to summarize Aaron’s contribution to baseball, racial equality and American history at this moment.
“I still can’t find the right words to describe his impact on this world,” he said. “I’m speechless. And numb. It would appear that there is a really big game scheduled soon in heaven.”
Andy is the founder and co-owner of OnMilwaukee.com. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.