On 13 March 1954, Braves outfielder Bobby Thomson broke his ankle sliding into third base during an exhibition game against the Pirates. Unfortunately for Thomson, this meant that he was out of the lineup until July 14. Fortunately for baseball history, this event opened up a starting spot for a young man named Hank Aaron. Nobody’s ever heard of him, have they?
“As far as I’m concerned, (Hank) Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last 15 years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He’s never received the credit he’s due.” – Mickey Mantle in Baseball Digest (June 1970)