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Hammerin' Hank's Heart Hovers Over Both Towns in NLDS

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This Hall of Fame Outfielder Spent Half His Career in Atlanta and Half in Milwaukee

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Who could have guessed back on the eve of Independence Day that, after a grueling series of six games, the two cities would begin a new one in early October? Milwaukee managed to defeat Atlanta on the hardwood, on its way to capturing the Eastern Conference Championship.

The Bucks had relied on Most Valuable Player Giannis Antekounmpo to lead them in the National Basketball Association postseason, while the Hawks turned to former Oklahoma Sooners standout Trae Young in his second year of pro ball. Now their counterparts on the diamond, the Braves and the Brewers, will have to hope for leadership mostly from veteran players.

Under more fortunate circumstances the Braves would have as their catalyst a young phenom, but they lost All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuna to a season ending injury in June. The Atlanta front office did a remarkable job filling in for Acuna at the trade deadline, bringing back slugger Adam Duvall in a trade with the Miami Marlins.

On that very same day, July 30, the Braves also traded to bring Eddie Rosario over from the Cleveland Indians and Jorge Soler from the Kansas City Royals. All three of those acquisitions helped move Atlanta from third place at the trade deadline to the top of the National League East by the end of the regular season.

A month before the trade deadline, the Brewers made the move that transformed their season. They acquired shortstop Willy Adames from the Tampa Rays, and he served as the impetus to take Milwaukee to the top of the N. L. Central.

Adames ended up hitting 20 home runs for the Brewers during his 100 games, a total which would impress the most well-known player to ever wear both a Milwaukee and Atlanta uniform. Henry Aaron, who joined the Brewers after spending 21 years with the Braves in Milwaukee as well as Atlanta, managed only 22 home runs during his final 222 games with the Brew Crew.

Since he spent nearly half his career in Milwaukee and half in Atlanta, it seems fitting that his two cities would meet in the postseason here in 2021. The Hall of Fame outfielder and legitimate reigning home run king passed away the first month of this year, bringing about weeks of mourning following the sad announcement on January 22.

Somewhere he is watching intently as his Braves and Brewers battle in the NLDS, though no one can say for sure whether he smiled or frowned when his first home town took game one 2-0.



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