UNDATED (AP) - Forty years ago Tuesday night, baseball fans across America were huddled around their televisions as NBC broadcast the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers from Fulton County Stadium. Hank Aaron walked in his first at-bat in the second inning before belting a fourth-inning blast off Al Downing to become baseball's all-time home run champ.
The Braves honored the 40th anniversary of that historic game Tuesday. Commissioner Bud Selig participated in the celebration, calling Aaron "ideally suited to become Babe Ruth's heir."
The 80-year-old Aaron received a standing ovation as he strode onto the field with the aid of a walker as he recovers from hip-replacement surgery. Downing threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and former Braves Tom House and Dusty Baker were there as well. House was in the bullpen when he caught Aaron's historic home run ball.
But the rest of the night belonged to the New York Mets as Bartolo Colon allowed six hits in seven innings of a 4-0 shutout of the Braves. Ruben Tejada sparked the Mets' offense by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Aaron began and ended his career playing for Milwaukee, so it seems only fitting that a Brewer should hit three homers on the 40th anniversary of Hammerin' Hank's record blast. Ryan Braun produced the second three-homer game of his career and collected a career-high seven RBIs as the Brewers trounced the Phillies 10-4 in Philadelphia.
Braun entered the game with only three singles in his first 20 at-bats before belting a three-run shot in the third off Kyle Kendrick. He capped his assault with another three-run blast in the eighth as Milwaukee ruined the Phillies' home opener.