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Topic:  Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns

Topic:  Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
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Kevin Finnegan
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  Message Not Read  Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/22/2021 1:25:20 PM 
As a student at OHIO, Charles Alexander was my favorite professor. I had the great fortune of taking both of his history of baseball courses and spending time getting to know him. One of my less-wise moves was convincing my then-girlfriend to also take his class, as it would give her a greater understanding of my love for baseball. While she regretted the courses, I never did. Many of the stories he told in those classes have stuck with me for years.

Upon graduating, I reached out to Dr. Alexander as I had an interest to write a book on the Indianapolis Clowns. He shared many stories about the Clowns, a negro league barnstorming team that was a baseball version of the Harlem Globetrotters. They featured a number of characters, including Mamie Johnson and Goose Tatum, who also was on the Globetrotters. They performed a show, while also having a good brand of baseball. Chuck Harmon, the first black player for the Cincinnati Reds was a member of the team. Dr. Alexander was able to connect me with Mr. Harmon and he was able to share many stories with me about his time as a Clown.

It's also where a young Hank Aaron started his professional baseball experience in 1952. Hearing of his passing today (a true American legend), I was saddened and thought back to Dr. Alexander. I never finished the book, as gathering the information became more and more difficult. However, I've always kept my love for the team and its members. I sure wish I could've seen them play. Thanks, Dr. Alexander for the memories and I hope the Aaron family has peace today and feels the love that Henry Aaron most certainly deserves.
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bobcatsquared
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/22/2021 1:53:08 PM 
The great Henry Aaron, the true home run king.

Thanks for sharing, Kevin.

I still remember being in Riverfront Stadium for opening day, 1974, and Aaron tying Babe Ruth with a home run in his first at bat of the season in front of over 50,000 fans. And it seems like just yesterday watching him on national TV a few days later and hitting HR #715 at home v. the Dodgers. Can still visualize him trotting around the bases with a couple of fans running right along with him.

Last Edited: 1/22/2021 1:58:24 PM by bobcatsquared

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rpbobcat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/22/2021 3:09:27 PM 
bobcatsquared wrote:
The great Henry Aaron, the true home run king.



Living in Northern N.J. I can tell you most Yankee fans around here would disagree.


Last Edited: 1/22/2021 3:09:47 PM by rpbobcat

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Bobcat Love's Sense of Shame
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/22/2021 7:39:16 PM 
I also took both of Dr. Alexander's History of Baseball courses. One of the academic highlights of my time there.
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OhioCatFan
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/23/2021 1:02:32 PM 
A few years ago when we were in Mobile, Alabama, we visited Henry Aaron's childhood home. It was very interesting and gave me a lot of additional insights into the man and his life as well as increased respect for him. If you ever find yourself in Mobile, I highly recommend stopping for a visit. It's well worth the few hours you spend finding out about the roots and upbringing of "Hammering Hank"!

Disclaimer: Growing up I never liked Aaron. I was a Cubs fan. My childhood idol was Ernie Banks. I saw them as rivals, and every time Aaron did something laudatory in my mind it detracted from Banks' growing legend. I felt toward Aaron like I now feel about that school in Oxford. Give me a break. I was a grade school kid at the time! Later I found out that Banks and Aaron were good friends. I think Aaron was actually Banks' best man at his wedding.

Last Edited: 1/23/2021 2:23:14 PM by OhioCatFan


"It is better to be an optimist and be proven a fool than to be a pessimist and be proven right."

Note: My avatar is the national colors of the 78th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, which are now preserved in a climate controlled vault at the Ohio History Connection. Learn more about the old 78th at: http://www.78ohio.org

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Mike Johnson
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/23/2021 1:55:08 PM 
Today's NYT begins coverage of Aaron's death and life on Page 1. Jumps to pages 24-25. Then 3 more pages in sports section. Includes some wonderful photos.


http://www.facebook.com/mikejohnson.author

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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/24/2021 1:42:02 PM 
I was a Yankees fan growing up so of course to me the greatest hitters wore NY pinstripes. I really didn't start to appreciate Hank Aaron until the early '70s when he was closing in on Ruth's record. There were stories about the racial slurs he endured from other players and fans, the hate mail he received through the years and the death threats after he passed 700 HRs. I remember him being concerned about getting the record, not because he didn't think he could do it but because he was one short after the 1973 season and wasn't sure he would live to see another season because of the death threats. He may also have been thinking of Roberto Clemente who got his 3,000th hit in his last at-bat of the 1972 season then died in the off-season while flying relief supplies to earthquake victims in Guatemala. The death threats continued in Cincy at the start of the '74 season but he still managed to tie the record there. I was glad to see him break the record, and oddly enough, against one of my favorite pitchers, former Yankee Al Downing.


We will get by.
We will get by.
We will get by.
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JSF
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/24/2021 9:08:22 PM 
He was the home run king so long, yet he doesn't seem to get the credit he deserved.


"Loyalty to a hometown or city is fleeting and interchangeable, but college is a stamp of identity."- Kyle Whelliston, One Beautiful Season.

My blog about depression and mental illness: https://bit.ly/3buGXH8

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Pataskala
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/24/2021 11:31:15 PM 
JSF wrote:
He was the home run king so long, yet he doesn't seem to get the credit he deserved.


Unfortunately for him, he didn't play for a NY or LA team. And Turner Broadcasting didn't go national with Braves telecasts until cable developed in the early '80s. Milwaukee and Atlanta weren't exactly media hubs during his career.


We will get by.
We will get by.
We will get by.
We will survive.

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BillyTheCat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/25/2021 11:18:39 AM 
One of the most amazing stats about Aaron to me, was Aaron's amazing consistency. Which speaks to the fact that he hit 755 homeruns but never hit 50 homeruns. Never even really seriously threatened 50 either. But man, he'd bang out consistent high 30's low 40's every year. In his prime, only twice was he under 30 dong's
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UpSan Bobcat
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/25/2021 1:25:16 PM 
Tim Burke shared this story on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/bubbaprog/status/1352657421982953474

"I specialized in history at @ohiou. It's a wonderful dept, & one of my professors was Charles Alexander, whose History of Baseball course was an annual waitlist challenge.

One day Dr. Alexander brought in a letter on faded brown paper, sealed in a clear plastic protector.

It was a letter from Hank Aaron to my professor, in response to Dr. Alexander having written to congratulate him on breaking Ruth's record. Aaron, in the response, thanked him—noting that he'd received so few notes of congratulation that he was able to respond to them all."
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Mike Johnson
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/26/2021 10:49:42 AM 
Here is another Aaron-related memory. 1967. It's the summer between graduating OU and entering Army. Visiting a certain girlfriend - Lynne - in Georgia. We decide to take in a Braves-Cubs game. I don't remember who won, but this is what I do remember. Both teams were loaded with heavy hitters. Braves, in addition to Aaron who hit 39 that season, also had Rico Carty, Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Clete Boyer and Mack Jones, all of whom hit 15 or more homers. Cubs had Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo (led team with 31), Randy Hundley and Adolfo Phillips all of whom hit 14 or more. The game quickly became a Home Run Derby. Inning after inning, balls went soaring into the distant seats. What a fun display of power!


http://www.facebook.com/mikejohnson.author

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Kevin Finnegan
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/26/2021 9:14:51 PM 
Mike Johnson wrote:
Here is another Aaron-related memory. 1967. It's the summer between graduating OU and entering Army. Visiting a certain girlfriend - Lynne - in Georgia. We decide to take in a Braves-Cubs game. I don't remember who won, but this is what I do remember. Both teams were loaded with heavy hitters. Braves, in addition to Aaron who hit 39 that season, also had Rico Carty, Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Clete Boyer and Mack Jones, all of whom hit 15 or more homers. Cubs had Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo (led team with 31), Randy Hundley and Adolfo Phillips all of whom hit 14 or more. The game quickly became a Home Run Derby. Inning after inning, balls went soaring into the distant seats. What a fun display of power!


As an obsessive baseball fan, I love box scores. I'm guessing that the game you're talking about was July 3, 1967, Mike. You got to see quite a few legends, in one way or another, if that's the game you saw. Cubs won 12-6. There were SEVEN home runs hit in the game: two by Carty, then others by Alou, Williams, Santo, Hundley, and Glenn Beckert. Two pitchers of some significant fame failed to record a single out in the game: Tony Cloninger (starter for the Braves) and Don Larsen (who came in relief for Cubs to no avail).

Here are some of the names you would've seen that day, from Hall of Famers to just significant baseball names: aforementioned HOFers Torre, Banks, Williams, Santo, Aaron. Catcher for the Braves that day was legendary announcer Bob Uecker. Some significant baseball families with Alou and Hundley. Larsen and Cloninger had big moments in their career. Of great coaching lore, Tito Francona pinch hit in that game as well.

What's so different about that game then and today's game: 18 runs were scored in the game, 21 hits, 7 home runs, and only 8 strikeouts.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL196707030...
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Mike Johnson
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  Message Not Read  RE: Charles Alexander, Hank Aaron, and the Indianapolis Clowns
   Posted: 1/26/2021 9:55:11 PM 
Kevin Finnegan wrote:
Mike Johnson wrote:
Here is another Aaron-related memory. 1967. It's the summer between graduating OU and entering Army. Visiting a certain girlfriend - Lynne - in Georgia. We decide to take in a Braves-Cubs game. I don't remember who won, but this is what I do remember. Both teams were loaded with heavy hitters. Braves, in addition to Aaron who hit 39 that season, also had Rico Carty, Joe Torre, Felipe Alou, Clete Boyer and Mack Jones, all of whom hit 15 or more homers. Cubs had Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo (led team with 31), Randy Hundley and Adolfo Phillips all of whom hit 14 or more. The game quickly became a Home Run Derby. Inning after inning, balls went soaring into the distant seats. What a fun display of power!


As an obsessive baseball fan, I love box scores. I'm guessing that the game you're talking about was July 3, 1967, Mike. You got to see quite a few legends, in one way or another, if that's the game you saw. Cubs won 12-6. There were SEVEN home runs hit in the game: two by Carty, then others by Alou, Williams, Santo, Hundley, and Glenn Beckert. Two pitchers of some significant fame failed to record a single out in the game: Tony Cloninger (starter for the Braves) and Don Larsen (who came in relief for Cubs to no avail).

Here are some of the names you would've seen that day, from Hall of Famers to just significant baseball names: aforementioned HOFers Torre, Banks, Williams, Santo, Aaron. Catcher for the Braves that day was legendary announcer Bob Uecker. Some significant baseball families with Alou and Hundley. Larsen and Cloninger had big moments in their career. Of great coaching lore, Tito Francona pinch hit in that game as well.

What's so different about that game then and today's game: 18 runs were scored in the game, 21 hits, 7 home runs, and only 8 strikeouts.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ATL/ATL196707030...



That was the game, Kevin. I say that with certainty because July 3 was in the week I spent visiting Lynne and her family. Thanks much for providing delightful details..


http://www.facebook.com/mikejohnson.author

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