The transcendent Hank Aaron

Records alone don't do his incredible life justice

Hank Aaron died on Friday at the glorious age of 86. I doubt that I am the only person to have shared the news only to be met with "He was still alive?" or "You might as well tell me that Honus Wagner just passed away."

This is one of those neat tricks of chronology, our human tendency to project those we revere backward into some impossibly remote past: the time of heroes, when the world was half shrouded in golden mist, before the magic left. For those of us whose earliest and fondest memories of the game are the Yankees dynasty of the '90s and 2000s, this was almost literally true: Aaron was a figure of whom my grandfather spoke with the same hallowed tone he reserved for Pope Pius XII or Robert Jackson or Johnny Unitas.

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