In those days, children in Mobile were not obligated to attend school for their senior year. Students could enter the workforce after eleventh grade. That rule created an opening: If he did not make it, Henry promised his mother, he would return to the Josephine Allen Institute for his ?nal year. Stella agreed. Henry Aaron would then report to Winston -Salem to meet the Clowns. Bunny Downs, the Indianapolis business manager, would be at the depot to meet him. Unlike Stella, Herbert tended to lean toward Henry's way of thinking. Perhaps Henry's leaving Wilcox as a teenager to discover his own destiny in?uenced Herbert's viewpoint.
Ed Scott recalled the dif?culty in convincing Stella to let her son go. As much as she wanted Henry to attend college, she was also largely unaware of just how talented her son was.
"I told her, if this kid was Satchel Paige, I wouldn't be bothering you," Scott said. "But you really don't know what you have."
Excerpted from The Last Hero by Howard Bryant Copyright © 2010 by Howard Bryant. Excerpted by permission of Pantheon, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.