Aaron told USA Today in an interview published Tuesday that he still has the hateful letters he received as he closed in on Ruth's career home run record 40 years ago this week. He said he keeps them as a reminder "that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record."
"If you think that, you are fooling yourself," he said. "A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There's not a whole lot that has changed."
According to Aaron, things are not that much different today — the country's first black president notwithstanding.
"We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated," Aaron said.
He added, "We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."