Craig Sager figures he never would have made it past security if Hall of Famer Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking home run under the scrutiny of modern-day security. Fresh out of college and working for a radio station in Florida, Sager was Johnny on the Spot when Aaron hit No. 715 at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium on this day 40 years ago to surpass Babe Ruth's record.
Everybody who has seen the highlight remembers the two fans running onto the field to congratulate Aaron, but one of the people meeting him at home plate in addition to the rest of the Atlanta Braves roster was Sager, who was one of the few media people set up on the field.
Sager, who had been interviewing Aaron's family and others before the game, was in the middle of the scrum as the world tried to congratulate Hammerin' Hank. A relative nobody at the time, what does Sager think would have happened if he tried it the same way today?
"I'd be shot," Sager told Yahoo Sports.
It's always amazed me that those two fans were able to get on the field and run alongside Aaron, especially considering the death threats he had been receiving. As he approached Ruth and letters from racists and other kooks became more sinister and violent, Aaron was separated from the rest of the team by the FBI away from the ballpark. And yet, a couple of well-meaning yahoos made it partly around the bases with him.
If the fans had made it that far today, considering the way security has changed in 40 years, it's possible they might have been shot. Sager, with press credentials and security clearance, might have been tackled. Or perhaps worse. Ah, how 'bout that American pastime?!
Regardless, the Yahoo feature on Sager — who has become one of the most well-known interviewers in sports for TBS — is terrific and gives insight into an event all baseball fans should be informed about.
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