I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story
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I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  373 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The man who shattered Babe Ruth's lifetime home run record, Henry "Hammering Hank" Aaron left his indelible mark on professional baseball and the world. But the world also left its mark on him.

I Had a Hammer is much more than the intimate autobiography of one of the greatest names in pro sports—it is a fascinating social history of twentieth-century America. With courage a...more
ebook, 496 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1991)
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will
i read this when i was much younger and in the middle of an intense fascination with early african-american baseball players (tell me james "cool papa" bell didn't have the coolest nickname ever). i'll be the first to admit, this is first and foremost a baseball story. so if you're not "into" baseball, you might find it forgettable. but, particularly in the wake of recent scandals and broken records, i think hank aaron's story transcends sports.

while it might seem cliche, this book talks about...more
James
This book is amazing. It should be a required read for anyone who has forgotten what the United States was like just a short 50 years ago, what kind of sharp racism Aaron faced throughout his twenty years, and what that means for the legacy of Americans. Baseball fans, people interested in social justice, and all inbetween should read this book about the man who broke Babe Ruth's record.
Lindsey
I'm a huge Atlanta Braves fan (and a fan of baseball in general), but because I'm a younger fan and didn't even like and understand baseball until a couple years ago I didn't really get to watch or learn about the Hank Aarons or Dale Murphys the Big Three or even the 1995 World Series Championship team, which is the most recent major event/player to come through Atlanta aside from Chipper Jones. This book was well written and not only recaps Aaron's career as a player and executive in baseball b...more
Jaime Contreras
I read the softcover of this years ago and reread it again recently. Henry Aaron was an honorable man, a terrific baseball player and a wonderful humanitarian. He valued his privacy and loved his family. I will always admire him for his bravery and nobility in the face of racism.
Corey
I have never read, or even tried to read a full book cover to cover, and not once did I lose Hank Aaron's attention in the autobiography "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story" I am a huge baseball fan and I can say this is a great read for any fan.
John Kaufmann
Probably a 3.5. I gave it 3-stars instead of 4 to distinguish it from the better The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. I read this one first and thoroughly enjoyed it. It covers the indignities and discrimination he faced all through his career, but especially in his early years. It covers his years with the Braves, his two World Series, and the race to Babe Ruth's record. However, it didn't do as thorough a job as The Last Hero in using Aaron's background and experiences as the context to delve...more
4Stephen
Which baseball player in history would consider the best? Well "I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron story talks about my favorite. His book talks about obstacles he faced such as racism. Aaron mentioned a lot of people in his life like his teammates. It gives you information about his career.

Many obstacles tried to prevent him from having a good baseball career. Racism affected his career when he and other African American players got booed. Segregation also made his career more difficult like when...more
18mantheo
The story I had a Hammer is an autobiography of Hank Aaron. It tells the story of Hank Aaron’s road to the big leagues; starting out in a little town out of Mobile, Alabama where Hank and his family lived in poverty and how the only thing he had was baseball and how he used baseball to make a life for him. Starting with local teams, to the Negro League, and finally to the big leagues. Along his path to earning the name Hammering Hank he faces many challenges from segregation to racism, and how...more
Margaret
Hank Aaron was until a couple of years ago the holder of major league baseball's career home run record, and he is by all accounts one of baseball's all-time greatest players. Aaron started his career in baseball soon after Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier, while black players still faced virulent racism on many fronts. Aaron faced more than most when he challenged Babe Ruth's home run record; he received thousands of hate-filled letters, many threatening his life, which are simply horri...more
Badiss
This book is about a baseball player named Hank Aaron. Hank is the best player to every play baseball, because he has the record for the most homeruns. He is also in the hall of fame. This was very hard for Hank to do, because during this time everyone hated him because he was black. They treated him badly because they were jealous of his baseball skills, and because os his skin color.

I would recommend this book to anyone. Even though you arent a sports fan, this book will teach you a lot. It t...more
Joshua
Trying to read some "inspirational" baseball books to help the long fantasy baseball season and my results in the Moosepath League-ha. This is Aaron's autobiography that in my opinion is too long. Repetitive.

It is uplifting to read about what he went through breaking Babe Ruth's home run record in the early 1970s. I'm not sure that record will be broken (I don't acknowledge Bonds or any of the HGH/Roid manufactured ballplayers of today, sorry). Roger Maris holds the single season home run record...more
Owen Manthe
I liked this book because of the great character development in Hank Aaron. The way Aaron developed in this book was phenomenal! At the start of the book Hank Aaron loved baseball as always but never really new the true meaning of it. So as he progresses in the book he learns to cherish this opportunity he was given and make the best of it. He starts to show that he isn't some boy from Mobile, AL that lived in poverty like the rest of blacks that have no way out except for sports. And that he s...more
John
A story of one of the greatest baseball players of all time, in which he discusses his early life, his time in Milwaukee, and his life in Atlanta. One sees the racial attitudes that made his years in baseball difficult and that, for him, took some of the glow off his status (which continues today) as baseball's home run king. A life story well-worth reading.
Karl Lehtinen
One of the reasons I loved baseball as a child was books like this.

Who knew at the same time I was learning about racism, history, and how to choke up on a 1-2 count.

You can't even imagine how much baseball has changed until you read that they used to sign kids like Aaron for about $100 and a bus ticket from Mobile.

Steven Spector
This is a bit of rarity: an honestly written sports autobiography. Make no mistake: Aaron has no love lost with the City of Atlanta, although he may have softened a bit thanks to city overtures post publication. Takes you from his early child days in AL to his time post-baseball. Written in 1991. Obviously recommended.
Paula
It isn't the most intriguing memoir or the best written, but it's an important story for baseball and de-segregation. I've learned some interesting history in the sport.
Paul
My favorite baseball player of all-time. Got to meet him once and interview him. Great baseball player, even greater man. This book is well done.
Alshia Delores Moyez
I really loved the book and I'm so glad he wrote it! In fact I enjoy "all" of Hank Aaron's offerings as an author. I think you will, too.
Rick
A remarkable player and a remarkable man. Gracious even in his honesty about the burden he bore just to play the game he loved.
Ryan Bastian


The life story of Hank Aaron is amazing. It's admirable what he has endured through and accomplished.
Galen Varon
I read it many years ago. I was inspired by Mr. Aarons tenacity in the midst of adversity.
Shannon
I love baseball as a sport, but I felt like the book just dragged on a lot.
Pangs
Just reading the letters he received made the book worth the read.
Tyree
Tyree marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2014
Jason Nielsen
Jason Nielsen marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2014
Gregg James
Gregg James marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2014
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Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron is a retired American baseball player whose Major League Baseball (MLB) career spanned the years 1954 through 1976. Aaron is widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In 1999, editors at The Sporting News ranked Hank Aaron fifth on their list of "Greatest Baseball Players."

After playing with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League and...more
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“The day I become content is the day I cease to be anything more than a man who hit home runs.” 0 likes
“The way I see it, it's a great thing to be the man who hit the most home runs, but it's a greater thing to be the man who did the most with the home runs he hit,” 0 likes
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