What if.

Baseball owners are notoriously cheap. And they usually get what they pay for. See the Rangers last four seasons and their next few for proof.

The passing of Hank Aaron is a reminder of what could have been. And an even bigger reminder of what is.

Baseball owners and executives are foolish.

The San Francisco Giants had just signed one of the most guy dynamic stars from the Negro Leagues. Some young kid named Willie Mays. He was Rookie of the Year in 1951 with 20 home runs, 68 RBIs, and an OPS of .828. He could do it all.

The Giants had heard of another kid in the Negro Leagues that might have even been better. His was also Alabama. He was three years younger. And he was the next Ted Williams. No doubt.

Everybody wanted him. Well, everybody in the National League. The American League was avoiding Negro League players. (It wasn’t until 1957, ten years after Jackie Robinson’s debut, that the Boston Red Sox became the last Major League team to sign a Black player.)

Two teams decided to make him an offer. The Boston Braves and the New York Giants.

A kid like Aaron was going to go where the money was. There was no loyalty to any Major League team. Heck, until recently they did everything they could to avoid players like Aaron.

So here was Aaron. He said he had two contracts in hand. The dream of a lifetime. He would have preferred playing with his mentor Willie Mays in New York. And would have except for one thing. The Braves offer was $50 more per month. And the Giants refused to budge.

And the rest is history.

The Braves moved to Milwaukee. With Hank Aaron.

The Giants moved to San Francisco. Without Hank Aaron. But with a cool fifty bucks a month in their pockets.

Baseball owners are cheap.