‘Michigan Matters’ Exclusive: Hank Aaron On Baseball & Life After The Game

By CBS Detroit

Baseball has changed since he broke into the major leagues in 1954, but Henry “Hank” Aaron – legendary slugger who made history when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714 in 1974 — is sure he could have adjusted his game and fit in today.

“Now you have a pitcher for five innings, then a relief pitcher for 3 innings and a closer to finish it off,” he said.

img 4642 Michigan Matters Exclusive: Hank Aaron On Baseball & Life After The Game

Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host of “Michigan Matters” interviews baseball legend Hank Aaron. Michigan Matters airs Sundays at 11:30 on CBS 62. (credit: Ken Bryant/CBS 62)

Aaron, a superstar who let his bat do the talking, said having one pitcher in for most of the game made a difference. Aaron, 83, lives in Atlanta. He was in town for his granddaughter’s graduation from the University of Michigan last weekend.

hank2 Michigan Matters Exclusive: Hank Aaron On Baseball & Life After The Game

used with permission (credit: David Turnley)

He took time while in Ann Arbor to talk with Carol Cain, Senior Producer/Host of CBS 62’s “Michigan Matters” for an exclusive wide ranging conversation.

You can hear it 11:30 a.m. this Sunday only on CBS 62.

Aaron played 23 years for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and also in the Minors and Negro League. He was the LeBron James or Michael Jordan of his day – only his game was baseball.

Durability could have been his nickname. Some of his MLB records still stand decades later — things like All Star appearances.

That’s not to say Aaron misses playing the game. “I haven’t missed it,” he said. “Not even the first day I didn’t play.” Aaron said players today are making big money but it has become a game controlled by agents which is hurting the game.

“I never had an agent,” he said. “Too many players are into themselves and not the public,” he added. On the other hand, Aaron never made more than $200,000 a year.

“And I never had more than a one year contract,” he said. “We had to prove ourselves every year. It wasn’t guaranteed. And if we didn’t perform we have to give the money back.”

Aaron retired from the game in 1976. He then became a successful businessman with auto dealerships and fast food franchises.

He also worked with Ted Turner, who used to own the Braves. Aaron held front office jobs with the team and did TV commentating. Today, he and his wife, Billye, are focusing on a foundation they started called Chasing The Dream Foundation. It provides scholarships to historically black colleges.

“It’s helping young people pursue their dreams just as I pursued my dream of baseball years ago,” he said.

Young Grads Setting New Course

img 0014 Michigan Matters Exclusive: Hank Aaron On Baseball & Life After The Game

New college graduates — Lucas Fuchs, Anthony Kostecki and Emily Haydel join Michigan Matters Senior Producer/Host Carol Cain to talk about the job market and their futures. (credit: Kris Kelly/CBS 62)

Then the roundtable of three new college graduates appear with Cain to talk about their career aspirations and more. Atlanta-native Emily Haydel graduated with a BA in Sports Management from the University of Michigan. She’s looking to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.

She’d love to get a job covering MLB team which makes sense as she is the granddaughter of Hank Aaron. She worked as a student manager for UM’s baseball team and also help the football team. Lucas Fuchs, who just graduated from Oakland University, and Anthony Kostecki, who officially graduates this Tuesday from Wayne State University, also appear.

Fuchs obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He’ll start work at Continental Automotive in Auburn Hills this summer. He’s hoping to focus on technology revolving around autonomous vehicles.

Kostecki will receive his BA in Psychology with honors and a music minor from WSU. He heading to Texas A&M this August as he obtains a doctorate in clinic psychology.

The trio discussed their perfect job and the job market for new graduates. They also offered advice to other young people heading off to college this fall.

Enjoy this web exclusive conversation with Hank Aaron. He talks about the toughest pitcher he ever faced and so much more.

Watch “Michigan Matters” 11:30 Sundays on CBS 62.

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