This past January an amazing thing happened for baseball fans from around the world. Two of the world’s greatest home run hitters, plus several other baseball legends whose names bring chills to baseball fans, gathered in the Los Angeles area. The gathering was to celebrate baseball and to celebrate an idea that came together because of two of the legends who were there.
The two legends are the men who hold homerun records that are likely not to be duplicated. One of them is Hank Aaron, who held the record of most career home runs at 755 for a long time, until Barry Bonds broke the record a few years ago. The other was the Japanese baseball slugger Sadaharu Oh, who holds an astounding record of 868 career home runs, a record that many modern baseball historians feel will never be touched. The two, years ago, when both were contemplating a day when they might not be active players, decided to create the World Children’s Baseball Fair.
According to Oh, the idea came about when Aaron was in Japan to film a commercial with Oh for coffee. The two got to talking about what they could do with their time now that they were retired. Both of them thought that bringing together children who wanted to learn about baseball from around the world was a great idea. The idea, at first, was small, just create a kind of global summer camp where kids from all over the world could come and learn a bit about each other and the game of baseball.
That was 30 years ago now. Since then, the two have helped create similar camps and learning every year. They have now hosted more than 4,700 youngsters at their camps. The kids who come are male and female and have been hosted from 85 countries and six continents. It seems that the two baseball legends just cannot stop setting records even after they have put their baseball playing days behind them.
Aaron and Oh were each presented with three awards at the luncheon held this past January. The awards were presented by the World’s Children’s Baseball Fair organization itself and Major League Baseball, plus the International Baseball Federation. Also in attendance at the luncheon were baseball legends such as Lou Brock, Frank Robinson, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and former Los Angeles Dodger Owner Peter O’Malley. Also in attendance was Liz Banks, founder of 500 HRC, LLC, wife of Ernie Banks.