Aaron was also a mentor for Baker, who joined Atlanta as a rookie in 1968 and played seven years with Aaron. and his teammates gave him into the team. Before the game, Baker noted that it was a strange and sad experience for him to come to Atlanta and not see Aaron there.
“It’s the most different kind of thing I’ve ever felt, and you can’t describe it,” Becker said, “because I’m happy to be back here, but sad to be back here. back here for the first time, other than Hank’s funeral, without Hank. ”
Baker hugged each of Aaron’s children on the hill, then Hank Aaron Jr. threw the ceremonial first pitch for Atlanta star Freddy Freeman, who said ahead of the game he was shivering at the thought of the party. . .
“Whoever called him, made you feel loved,” Freeman said. “I wish he was there so I could watch this.”
The tribute was short-lived, in part because team organizers and the MLB said they believed the lowly and unpretentious star Aaron wanted to focus on the players and the game, not on him.