Friday, August 26, 2011

Hank Aaron Comeback?

There have been rumblings on the internet (led by ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons) to have Hank Aaron return to baseball at age 77 to try and hit 8 more home runs and take back his all-time record from Barry Bonds. This is a marvelous idea and it absolutely needs to be done.

It started in a summer mailbag by Simmons:

Q: Thome's 600th this week prompted me to look into the all-time home run leaders. I can't believe Aaron is only 7 behind Bonds on the all-time list. Can Hammerin' Hank can still put a few in the bullpen? Proposition for Hank and Bud to ponder: have Henry DH for the Orioles for the rest of the year and slug 8 out in meaningless games. It would be great to see him run around those bases again like when he got mobbed by the 2 guys in Atlanta.

— Mike Snyder, Scranton

SG: This idea delighted me to the point that I looked up Hank's age on Wikipedia: He's 77 years old. If he came back, he'd have the benefit of EVERY opposing pitcher/catcher trying to help him; nobody would want to strike him out or make him look bad. He'd probably need two or three years to get to eight, and he'd need about six weeks as the DH each season … so you're right, for this to work, we'd need a basement-dweller like the Orioles who had nothing to lose. First question: Could a late-70s Hammering Hank hit eight homers in 12 weeks over two years with every opposing pitcher grooving him meatballs? (It's conceivable, you have to admit.) Second question: Wouldn't it be worth it for the Orioles attendance-wise to try this Hank Aaron experiment? (Hell yeah.) Third question: When he struck the eighth homer, would that be one of the five or six single happiest moments in sports history? (I'm welling up just thinking about it.) Fourth question: If Hank broke the record, would we have to worry about a Barry Bonds comeback? (Crap, this is suddenly a bad idea.)

Then in the next mailbag the idea evolved.

Q: You wondered if 77 year old Hank Aaron could hit eight homers to pass Barry Bonds? I guess you don't remember 75 year old Luke Appling (go to 10:38 mark of this clip) taking Warren Spahn deep at an Old-Timer's Game. And Appling looked like he swallowed Greg Luzinski at the time.

— Steve Brightman, Kent, OH

SG: Boom! Video proof that Aaron's comeback could work! Also, a number of readers pointed out that teams could just agree to let every hit off Aaron's bat become an inside-the-park home run. In other words, we could get Bonds' record in two days, or as long as it takes Aaron to run around the bases eight times, whichever comes first.

I understand that the idea is completely sarcastic and will never happen, but what I'm saying is that it would be the greatest thing in the world if it did. Kinda like Bernie Mack in Mr 3000. At the very least somebody needs to make a movie about this hypothetical scenario.

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