Aaron was a steady Eddie. No flash, just a mind-numbing consistency that was hardly noticed outside of Milwaukee and, later, Atlanta, until he was on the verge of shattering the most sacred record in baseball, Babe Ruth’s 714 home runs. Breaking the record was a blessing and a curse. Doing it opened him to an onslaught of racist threats. Aaron had the last laugh, not only breaking the record but leaving the field as the record-holder and becoming an executive with the Braves. If he had one regret, it was that his record was broken in the steroid era. As his biographer, Howard Bryant, author of THE LAST HERO (Pantheon, $29.95), said in an interview, Barry Bonds is the record-holder, but Hank Aaron is the standard-bearer.
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