By Doug Gorman
Participants in this week's 7-8-year-old AABC Roberto Clemente World Series proably don't know too much about Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron.
The former Atlanta Brave played long before they were born, but no doubt delighted their fathers and grandfathers.
However, the young baseball players will get an instant baseball history lesson Thursday night when Aaron comes to McDonough to throw out the first pitch to open this year's AABC World Series.
Aaron will take the mound at 6 p.m. on Thursday. McDonough Mayor Richard Craig will also participate in the opening ceremonies by throwing out a ball at 5:30 p.m.
Almost three decades after retiring from the game as a player, Aaron is still considered one of the game's all-time greatest players. His 755 career home runs is still a record. He also went on to play in 25 all-star games, reach base on 3,771 hits, and drive in 2,297 runs. He also participated in the World Series in 57-58.
When he was voted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982, he made it in a landslide, garnering 406 of 415 votes.
Since leaving baseball as a player, Aaron has worked as an excutive for the Braves. He is also one of Atlanta's leading businessmen, which includes car dealerships.
In addition to Aaron and Craig's apparence at the tournament, state representative Steve Davis is also scheduled to throw out the first pitch during one of the games.
Teams will begin arriving in McDonough on Wednesday, participate in a welcome ceremony that afternoon in the McDonough square at 5 p.m.
This year's participants will also have the opportunity to test their baseball skills in an infield/outfield competition sponsored by All-Star Sporting Goods. The skills competition takes place Thursday at 10 a.m.
The double-elimination tournament starts Thursday evening and continues through the weekend.
Three teams from Georgia will be among the teams vying for the World Series title.
The McDonough Dawgs will serve as the host team, but the Gresham Park White Sox and the Rock Chappel Braves will also play in the tournament, and represent Georgia.