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STONE: 4 is the magic number

November 19, 2021 - 00:00
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If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve probably seen Vin Scully’s tweet concerning some coincidences involving the late Henry Aaron, the 2021 World Series Champs and the number 44 worn by Aaron from 1955 until the end of his career.

In the season following Aaron’s passing, the Braves won 44 games before the All-Star break, 44 games after and won the World Series in the 44th week of the year. But there’s more to consider. So, let’s consider it.

Aaron hit 44 home runs in four different seasons. When he broke Babe Ruth’s all-time record, it was in the fourth inning of the fourth game of the 1974 season. The Dodgers pitcher and victim, Al Downing, also wore number 44.

Barrack Obama, the 44th President of the United States was born on Aug. 4, 1961. Aaron hit two homers that day while batting fourth for the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves beat the Giants 2-1, scoring two runs on the fourth day of the eighth month.

The last homer Henry hit that day was the 248th of his career.

On Barrack Obama’s fourth birthday Aaron also hit two home runs, the first off of Don Drysdale in the first game of a doubleheader and another in the second game against Claude Osteen. Maybe he hit them for little Barry.

It is also interesting to note that: Bob Allison of the

Bob Allison of the Twins also launched one. He wore number four with the Twins beginning when the team moved to Minnesota in 1961 from Washington DC where Barrack Obama would move 48 years later.

Jerry Kindall of the Cubs belted a pinch-hit home run on Barry’s birthday too. He wore number 16, which is, of course, the product of 4X4.

Aaron hit home runs number 443 and 444 off of Dave Guisti in the fourth month of 1967. Guisti wore number 44 during the last year of his career.

Aaron played his last season in 1976 at the age of 42. Current Braves announcer Joe Simpson was a 24-year-old outfielder with the Dodgers then.

And just for your baseball edification: Nolan Ryan threw a two-hit shutout for the Los Angeles Angels in the season finale on Oct. 3, 1976. Aaron had gotten his first homer against Ryan on May 21, 1971, the 44th anniversary of the concluding day of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight. May 21 is also Bobby Cox’s birthday. Minnesota first baseman Kent Hrbek, who I still despise, was also born on May 21, but we’ll stop this path before we get too far down the rabbit hole and I bring up former Alabama governor John M. Patterson who was endorsed by the Klan and later supported Barrack Obama.

Also on Oct. 3, the Pirates won both ends of a doubleheader with final scores of 1-0 against the Cardinals and finished 92-70. The Cardinals finished 72-90. In the NL’s Western Division, the Dodgers finished second at 92-70 while the Braves finished dead last at 72-90. Aaron also finished on a last-place team in his final season with the Milwaukee Brewers (66-95).

You probably didn’t know that the White Sox made Goose Gossage, who made the Hall of Fame as a closer, a starter in 1976. He was the losing pitcher in the Oct. 3 season finale. He did pitch a complete game, though, and didn’t need a relief pitcher to bail him out. He wore number 54. 1954 was Hank Aaron’s first season in MLB. You’re right. That’s stretching the coincidence thing all out of shape, but we are going to mention that Martin Luther King Jr. was called to be pastor at the Dexter Street Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama (just up the road from where Aaron was born in Mobile) in 1954. The church was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the year Henry . . . well you already know what Henry Did in 1974.

Sadly, Henry Aaron died on Jan. 22, 2021. Hall of Fame catcher Louis Santop, a Negro League star, also died on Jan. 22 (1942). According to baseball-reference.com, Santop is “remembered for having outhit Babe Ruth in a 1920 postseason exhibition series.”

Two times 22 equals 44.

But back to Barry for a second.

Braves utility infielder Orlando Arcia also shares the Aug. 4 birthday with Barrack Obama. Coincidentally, Arcia finished the 2021 season with 44 career home runs after hitting two for the Atlanta champs during the regular season.

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka, who wears number 40, was also born on Aug. 4.

Cleon Jones, an outfielder on the Mets team that swept the Braves and Aaron in the 1969 NLCS was also born on Aug. 4. He went to high school with Tommie Agee who played on that same Mets team. Agee died 20 years to the day before Henry, passing away on Jan. 22, 2001.

On Aug. 4, 2021, Jorge Soler, the World Series MVP, and Adam Duvall both homered for the Braves in a 7-4 win over the Cardinals. Two weeks later the Braves took over first place and never looked back.

Now you know just about everything there is to know.

Tell me the stars weren’t lined up for the Braves. Now let’s go win the next four titles. Or maybe all four of Atlanta’s pro teams can now win titles.