26 Jan REMEMBERING: HALL OF FAMER, FORMER HOME RUN KING HANK AARON, DIES AT 86
Name: Henry Louis Aaron
Born: February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama
Nicknamed: “Hammerin’ Hank.”
MLB debut: April 13, 1954, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance: October 3, 1976, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics: Batting average .305 Hits 3,771 Home runs 755
Runs batted in: 2,297
MLB records: 2,297 career runs batted in, 6,856 career total bases, 1,477 career extra-base hits, 25X All-Star (1955–1975), Winner of three Gold Glove awards
Inducted to Baseball HOF: 1982
The Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers have both retired his jersey number, 44.
Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball’s golden mark, has died. He was 86. Born in Mobile, Alabama, on Feb. 5, 1934, Henry Louis Aaron was one of eight children born to Herbert and Estella Aaron. His family was so poor they could not afford baseball equipment, so he began honing his baseball skill by hitting bottle caps with sticks. In November 1951, at the age of 17, Aaron began his minor league career with the Indianapolis Clown’s organization of the negro leagues. Seven months later, in June 1952, Aaron chose to sign with the Boston Braves over the New York Giants, because the Braves offered $50 more a month. The Braves had their 21-year-old building block. The Giants missed out on a Hank Aaron, Willie Mays outfield tandem. Instead, the tandem of the Braves franchise in Bean Town was over. The team moved to Milwaukee in 1953, and one year later, Aaron made the big-league roster. That first season, Aaron wore No. 5. He switched to No. 44 in 1955. That same year, at age 21, Aaron made the first of his record 21 All-Star selections and his record 25 All-Star appearances. Aaron won the National League batting title in 1956 and won his only MVP award the following year after hitting 322 and finishing in the top three in all three triple crown batting categories. At age 21, Aaron made the first of his record 21 All-Star selections and his record 25 All-Star appearances. Aaron won the National League batting title in 1956 and won his only MVP award the following year after hitting .322 and finishing in the top three in all three triple crown batting categories. He capped his MVP ’57 season by clinching the pennant with a home run in inning 11 in a seven-game World Series victory over the New York Yankees. Aaron became the first player in Major League history to record 500 homers and 3,000 hits. He went on to hit 40 or more home runs seven different times, finishing third in the MVP voting six times. At the age of 37, he hit his career high in home runs, 47 of them and set a new career best in slugging percentage. At age 39, Aaron recorded his eighth 40-homer season finishing that year with 713 for his career, just one home run shy of Babe Ruth’s major league record. That offseason, Aaron received numerous death threats and loads of racist letters. With Aaron just one homer shy of the record, Braves management wanted the team to open at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, but the Braves schedule had them playing their first three games in Cincinnati. Aaron tied the record in his first at-bat with his very first swing of the season. He did not play another game until April 8, 1974, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In front of 53,775 spectators and a national TV audience, Aaron broke the Babe’s record with home run No. 715. He hit his 733rd and final home run as a Brave on Oct. 2 of that year. A 6-foot, 180-pounder, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed home run mark less than a week into the 1974 season, slugging his record 715th off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning as 50,000-plus fans celebrated in Atlanta. In one of baseball’s iconic moments, Aaron trotted around the basepaths — despite briefly being interrupted by two fans — and ultimately touched home plate, where teammates hoisted him, his parents embraced him. Aaron’s mark was ultimately passed by Barry Bonds under the stain of PED use. Despite allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs, Aaron never begrudged someone eclipsing his mark. His common refrain: More than three decades as the king was long enough. It was time for someone else to hold the record. The Braves traded Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 1975 season and Aaron broke Ruth’s RBI record and hit his final 22 home runs in a Brewer’s uniform, hitting a 755th final home run on July 20, 1976.