Sports

Hall of Famers love Wrigley—but hate the wind

With temperatures in the 80s and not a cloud to be found in a pristine blue sky in Chicago, Hank Aaron found himself reliving some of his glory days Saturday afternoon.

"I think I have an urge to grab [a bat], but I don't know what I could do with it," he said.

Aaron and other baseball legends were in town for festivities surrounding the Civil Rights Game at U.S. Cellular Field.

With Wrigley Field approaching its 100th anniversary next season, being back in town reminded Aaron and fellow Hall of Famer Frank Robinson about the times they visited the Friendly Confines as the Cubs' opposition.

Aaron claims the biggest hit of his career was at Wrigley—and wound up being caught.

"The thing that I remember most about playing in Wrigley Field was not hitting a home run but hitting probably the hardest ball I've ever hit in my life off [Cubs pitcher] Ken Holtzman when he pitched a no-hitter," he said. "I thought for sure that I had hit a home run and sure enough the wind blew it right back to Billy Williams."

Aaron's not the only Hall of Famer to be humbled by Wrigley.

"It's not a fun place when the wind's blowing in," said legendary slugger Frank Robinson. "It is a fun place and very enjoyable to play when the wind is blowing out and the conditions are nice."

Robinson's moment of clarity came when he was playing the field on a day when conditions were less than ideal.

"I enjoyed playing at Wrigley Field until one day the wind was blowing in, I was in left field, I turned my back on a fly ball and looked back around," he said. "It wasn't coming out, it was going back in."

Robinson was able to make the play thanks to some quick thinking, but he wound up paying a price.

"I wound up diving for the ball, breaking my glasses, getting a few cuts and bruises, but I learned from it," he said. "Never take your eye off the ball when the wind is blowing in at Wrigley Field."

Matt Lindner is a RedEye special contributor.

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