I was able to watch a good portion of yesterday's parade up sixth avenue from my office building. Players sat in the back of sparkling Chevy trucks which proceeded slowly from Bryant Park to 57th street. When Hank Aaron's truck stopped in front of my building, I saw a little old lady with a big white hat approach him. She walked right by the police, up to the truck like she came down to the parade to do just one thing. She went right up and shook Aaron's hand. It was brief. Then she walked back to the sidewalk where a small boy was waiting for her.
As she moved away from Aaron, she clenched her fists and shook them over and over again. It was as she was saying, "Yes. I shook the man's hand." I don't know if she had been waiting for years to make that contact but the moment clearly made her day, if not her whole year.
It must be a strange sensation to be a ball player, knowing that your accomplishments mean so much to so many people. I wonder how many of these kinds of encounters an athltete remembers? They must all blur together after awhile. One thing for sure though, that lady will never forget touching Hank Aaron, even it was just for a moment.