Column: Henry Aaron made his (loud) mark on San Diego

A suggestion for San Diego State leaders as they develop land in Mission Valley, including the grounds where San Diego Stadium stood:

Honor Henry Aaron. Specifically, anchor an Aaron plaque or statue north of where the Great Wall of San Diego stood, in futility, unable to impede Aaron’s pull shots off Padres pitchers despite his advancing age.

Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger and longtime home run king who died last week at age 86, packed a wallop in his regular if brief visits to Mission Valley between 1969 and 1974 with the Atlanta Braves.

He hit 15 home runs in the 150 at-bats at San Diego Stadium. The right-hander’s drives cleared an 18-foot outfield wall that was twice the height of Petco Park’s barriers.


So, even deep into a career that began in 1954, San Diegans saw up close the form that inspired a pitcher’s famous quote about Aaron: “Getting a fastball past him is like trying to sneak the sun past a rooster.”

He clocked pitches with a wristy swing. His rising liners weren’t tape-measure shots, but they got the job done. He wasn’t particular about pitchers. Nine of his homers in San Diego were off a right-hander. Among the six lefties he took over the big wall were sinker-baller Randy Jones, then a rookie, and Dave Roberts, another frontline starter.

In 1969 when the Padres rose from the Pacific Coast League to the big leagues, San…

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