Friday, April 13, 2018

Scholastic book cover: "Hammerin' Hank of the Braves"

There's an "anniversary factor" to this post. It was 64 years ago today — April 13, 1954 — that Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron made his debut in Major League Baseball. The 20-year-old went for 0-for-5 while playing left field and batting fifth for the Milwaukee Braves in their 9-8 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

  • Title: Hammerin' Hank of the Braves
  • Author: Joel H. Cohen
  • Cover photograph: Wide World News Photo Service
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services (TK 1838)
  • Cover price: 75 cents
  • Year: Fourth printing, September 1973 [book first published in 1971]
  • Pages: 176
  • Format: Paperback
  • First sentences: Hank had wanted it to happen at home at Atlanta Stadium. Now he just wanted it to happen. "It" was the 3,000th base hit of his major-league career — the hit that, until then, had been reached by only seven other great hitters in the entire history of baseball.
  • Last sentence: It's a safe bet that Hammerin' Hank, one of the greatest who ever put wood to horsehide, will keep looking for ways to improve on his near perfection until the sad day when he hangs up Number 44 for the last time.
  • Random sentence from middle: The most drastic shift used against Hank was fielded by Cincinnati in a game on June 30, 1969, when Manager Dave Bristol added a fourth outfielder against him.
  • Rating on Amazon: There are only two reviews. Both are five stars.
  • Amazon review: In 2016, Hawkins wrote: "I bought this book from SBS in 1971 when it was first published, and I was 11 years old. It was entertaining, and turned me into a Hank Aaron fan for life. Mr. Aaron is more than a gifted ball player. He is the kind of role model kids today need more of."
  • Notes: This fourth printing has an introduction, "Countdown to Glory," that discusses Aaron's pursuit of Babe Ruth's career record for home runs during the 1973 season. But it was clearly penned before it was known whether Aaron would reach or pass the record that season. In fact, he did not tie and pass Ruth until April 1974. The book includes Aaron's batting statistics through the 1970 season. But, oddly, it also includes his fielding statistics through the 1972 season. ... Author Joel H. Cohen wrote numerous sports books during the 1970s on the likes of Steve Garvey, Joe Morgan, Oscar Robertson, Manny Sanguillen, Jim Palmer, Johnny Unitas and Tom Seaver. He also wrote about Lucille Ball, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Bill Cosby. He is, I believe, a different Joel H. Cohen than the Joel H. Cohen who is a writer for The Simpsons and also different than the screenwriter Joel Cohen who co-wrote Toy Story.

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