Hard Ball: Willie Mays Aikens edition
Willie Aikens was tabbed “the next Willie McCovey” by then Kansas City Royals manager Jim Frey, and the slugging first baseman’s prodigious power didn’t disappoint. Aikens slammed four home runs in the 1980 World Series, but was soon derailed by cocaine addiction that would end a promising baseball career and land Aikens in prison.
Aikens’ story did not end there, however, it was merely the beginning. After finding his faith while incarcerated, Aikens went on to write a book that is not only can’t-put-it-down good, but also one of redemption. Aikens is now a coach with the Royals organization and travels to speaking engagements to tell his story and deter other people from making the same mistakes he made.
On Monday, Aikens spent a few moments with us over the phone to discuss his journey from selfish to servant, Safe at Home, what former Royals teammates George Brett and Hal McRae have meant to him, Kansas City’s resurgence last October and Aiken’s message to those struggling with addiction.
Ladies and gentlemen, Willie Mays Aikens: