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Oh, Henry! Aaron swings past Ruth

By Bruce Lowitt

The nation waited for this moment for 38 years. And for the six months after the 1973 baseball season. And for the first four days of 1974's.

Fans looked forward to Henry Aaron's 715th career home run with hope in their hearts -- or venom in their veins.

To a segment of society, it wasn't Aaron chasing the home run record of Babe Ruth. It was ... well, a black man. Aaron was a racist's nightmare, excelling in a sport that for decades had been as white as the ball. And excelling in Atlanta, the heart of Dixie.

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