On the field, blacks have been able to be super giants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again. – Henry Aaron
Roman designer and architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio wrote a book on architecture, which was reprinted 15 centuries later and inspired countless Renaissance artists and architects, including Leonardo da Vinci, who became intrigued by the relationship between man and earth and based much work on Vitruvian analogies. “All the arts and all the world’s rules are devised from a well-composed and proportioned human body,” wrote Francesco di Giorgio, who is not shown in this painting and who I won’t mention again. Leonardo’s notes on his Vitruvian Man drawing are, as usual, writted backwards (from right to left) not because he wanted to stump the reader, as is rumored – any jackass can read backwards – but because he was left-handed and he was tired of smearing ink around with his writing hand.
Henry Aaron was right-handed, and was arguably the best hitter of that persuasion in Big League history. He was the Negro League’s greatest product who made the Majors. He began his pro career in 1951 at the age of 17, with the Indianapolis Clowns. They weren’t exactly clowns, although they would ham it up some to draw fans. They had a midget on the roster and an excellent female 2nd-basewoman named Toni Stone. Within a few years Aaron had followed the tracks of the Northern Migration to Milwaukee, where he played outfield for the Braves, only to move South again when they became the Atlanta Braves. He continued to work his magic and make baseball history there despite receiving something like 20,000 death threats a day. (That might be an exaggeration.) But here he is, playing the part of Leonardo da Vinci’s perfect man, taking his hacks in front of Georgia’s famous landmark, Stone Mountain, shown here before it was disfigured with bas relief sculpture of the Marx Brothers. Base relief, more accurately.