updated 12/31/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 12/31/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST
The 27-year-old singer, né Stanley Kirk Burrell, grew up in Oakland's working class, got a job as preteen aide to A's owner Charley Finley and once even took a shot at a baseball tryout. A Hop on the diamond, he switched to music and found his held. Capitalizing on his Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em LP, he led 31 performers on a 250-concerl tour, sang "Feelings" in a memorable Pepsi ad and presided over his own thriving recording and production company. Feet, don't fail him now: "I have to keep working, because I know what it's like not to," says the driven Hammer. "But when I look back at the facts, I'm overwhelmed."