By Doug Gorman

I have used this space many times to write about my boyhood baseball heroes.

My father taught me to love baseball with our many trips to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

I was fortunate enough to watch Bob Gibson pitch and Lou Brock steal bases during the tail end of their careers.

Philadelphia third baseman Mike Schmidt also was also one of my favorite players, especially after I moved to the "City of Brotherly Love" when I was in fourth grade.

I recently had a discussion with some other baseball fans about players from the 1970s and 80s. Eventually, the topic turned to which players from 20 to 30 years ago could play the game today.

Everyone agreed Bob Gibson would also overpower batters today. Lou Brock would be a speed demon on the bases, and Mike Schmidt would hit towering home runs.

Add Hank Aaron to the list of baseball players who would wear the superstar label if he were playing today.

I delighted in Aaron's attempt to catch Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader. As a fourth grader, it was the most important thing in the world. In my youthful innocence, I was oblivious to Watergate and numbness this country felt from the Vietnam War.

When he finally arrived at the record, I was watching it live on television. For a 9-year-old, it was most exciting sports moment in my young life.

Nearly 30 years later, I still have fond sports memories of watching Hank Aaron play baseball. It's exciting to know,he will be in McDonough Thursday night to throw out the first pitch as part of the Roberto Clemente 7-8-year-old World Series.

I am sure these young players won't be too star struck by Aaron's presence at the event, but the fathers and grandfathers in attendance will enjoy their trip down memory lane, as will I.

Maybe, if we explain to these young players that Aaron was to the Braves in his day what Chipper Jones is to the current Braves, they will have some sense of understanding of Aaron's greatness.

Kyle will be back: When I heard Kyle Davies was sent back to Richmond on Sunday, I was a little disappointed.

The former Stockbridge High School standout did a great job in his 11 starts in the major leagues, posting a 4-3 record and an E.R.A. that was just a little above 4.

But Davies got caught up in the politics of the game. With Mike Hampton ready to come off the disabled list, there was simply no room for the Stockbridge High School graduate on the big-league roster.

Hampton and his lucrative contract aren't going anywhere, that's just sort of the way the game works.

The Braves could have kept Davies around to pitch out of the bullpen, but that would have been an injustice. Davies' future with the Braves is as a starter. Right now, he is better playing for Richmond, so he gets work every four or five days.

One thing is for sure, Davies proved he belongs in the big leagues, and as the old saying goes, just wait until next year.

Thanks to a friend: On Friday, Anthony Rhoads left the Daily after accepting the job as sports editor at the Newton Citizen in Covington. It wasn't easy for me to come to the office Monday knowing he would no longer be a part of the sports staff.

We worked together for five years. He became my right arm. His enthusiasm for the job will be hard to replace.

He was a dedicated worker, but more importantly, he was my friend.

(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. He can be e-mailed at ).