Hank Aaron, a baseball star, has died at the age of 86.
Hank Aaron, a Deep South native who rose above poverty and racism to become one of America’s most influential individuals, died on Friday at the age of 86.
His death prompted an outpouring of tributes from those who knew him personally or were simply inspired by a remarkable life lived with unwavering dignity and grace in the face of a seemingly endless fountain of hatred while pursuing a sacred baseball record held by a white icon, Babe Ruth, of 714 home runs.
“On everyone’s ranking of all-time great players, Hank Aaron is near the top. Only his humility and honesty as a person trumped his huge achievements as a player. Hank represented the very best of our sport, and his all-around excellence set an example for Americans and admirers all over the world. In a statement, Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “His career proves that a person who goes to work every day with humility can hammer his way into history — and find a way to shine like no other.”
Hank Aaron is remembered by Manfred.
“Hank enthusiastically supported our efforts to honor the game’s greatest and discover its future generation of stars, including the Hank Aaron Award, which honors offensive prowess among Major League players, and the Hank Aaron Invitational, which gives exceptional young players exposure. As a result of his annual journey to the World Series, he has become a good friend of mine in recent years. One of the biggest honors of my life is that friendship. I will be eternally grateful for Hank’s contribution to our sport and the society it represents, and he will always hold a particular position in our game’s history. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my heartfelt condolences to Hank’s wife, Billye, and their family, as well as the fans of Atlanta and Milwaukee, as well as the millions of fans who have flocked to see one of our game’s pillars.”
• Hammerin’ Hank’s epic career timeline
Aaron, who began his Major League career as a 20-year-old for the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and ended it as a 25-time All-Star, National League Most Valuable Player (1957), and two-time batting champion, passed Ruth on the all-time home run list on April 8, 1974, at the age of 40, and then played parts of two more seasons to put the finishing touches on a Major League career that spanned 23 seasons, from his debut as a 20-year- When the Braves beat the Yankees in a seven-game World Series in 1957, he hit.393. For 33 years, he was the home run king of baseball.
• Hank Aaron’s greatest hits
In 1982, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving 97.8% of the vote. Only Ty Cobb had garnered a higher percentage of votes from baseball writers at the time, with 98.2 percent in 1936.
Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, and long after he retired from baseball, he continued to be an ardent advocate for civil rights, sharing his own experience eloquently and candidly.
Kendrick Lamar on Hank Aaron’s death
“The loss of our dear Hank has left us completely saddened. He was a guiding light for our organization, first as a player, then as a coach, and finally in our community initiatives. His amazing talent and determination propelled him to the pinnacle of success, but he never lost his humble demeanor. Henry Louis Aaron was a legend not only in our community, but also in Major League Baseball and around the world. His on-field prowess was only equaled by his off-field business achievements, which were topped off by his exceptional charity initiatives. In a statement, Braves chairman Terry McGuirk stated, “We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife, Billye, and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda, and Ceci, as well as his grandchildren.”
• Hank Aaron’s excellence is demonstrated by these 13 statistics.
He is still #1 in baseball’s all-time RBIs (2,297), second in home runs (755), third in hits (3,771), and fourth in runs (more than 44 years after his last game) (2,174). His batting average over his career was.305. Since 1999, the Hank Aaron Award has been given to the best hitter in each league, as determined by fan and media votes.
Aaron surpasses Hank Aaron as the all-time RBI leader.
Despite this, he will be remembered for one swing of the bat, his 715th home run, possibly the most famous in baseball history.
• Aaron is remembered by Hall of Famers
Henry Louis Aaron, born on Feb. 5, 1934, in Mobile, Ala., slugged a fastball from Dodgers lefty Al Downing over the left-field fence with a standing-room-only home crowd poised to witness history that night in Atlanta, in the ninth season after the Braves moved there from Milwaukee, with a standing-room-only home crowd poised to witness history, slugged a fastball from Dodgers lefty Al Downing over the left-field
As Aaron passed home plate and was embraced by his teammates and parents, Herbert and Estella, Hall of Fame commentator Vin Scully detailed what transpired.
Aaron’s 715th home run is called by Scully.
“What a wonderful time for baseball, what a wonderful time for Atlanta and Georgia, what a wonderful time for the country and the world.” In the Deep South, a Black guy is receiving a standing ovation after breaking the record of an all-time baseball hero. And it’s an exciting time for all of us…”
• Major League Baseball players pay tribute to Aaron.
There was no doubting Aaron’s pursuit of Ruth’s record had major racial connotations. His Black Braves colleagues joked about not sitting next him in the dugout because they were afraid an assassin might shoot the incorrect player as he approached it.
Aaron kept his grief hidden from all save his closest pals. When he did speak about it, he usually focused on the effects of the hate and wrath on others. He’d talk about how much his parents went through. He would express his dissatisfaction with this. He didn’t like it either that his teammates were concerned for his safety. He’d tell them, “Don’t worry about me.”
On Aaron’s death, Bob Costas
He would open up to people on occasion, not often, but occasionally. He would read aloud the letters from binders and cartons, many of which he had retained to memory.
• Despite racism, Aaron had hope and optimism.
“If I can help it, you’re not going to shatter this record set by the great Babe Ruth.” Jungle bunnies are much inferior to whites. “Every dark move you make is being watched by my pistol.”
Imagine ascending the tallest mountain in the game you love more than almost everything else in the world, only to be met with an avalanche of hate.
On Opening Day, Aaron ties Ruth.
Former Commissioner Bud Selig, a longtime friend of Aaron’s, described him as “vile.” “You can’t fathom why someone would be moved to write such a thing about another human being.” Anyone who knew Henry Aaron would agree that he was one of the greatest and most moral guys to ever walk the face of the earth.”
• Aaron was a shining example of unrivaled grace.
Selig released the following statement about Aaron’s death on Friday:
“The demise of the great Henry Aaron, a man we truly loved, has grieved and heartbroken my wife, Sue, and myself, and we give our love and sympathies to his wonderful wife, Billye.” Hank was a wonderful and sweet guy, as well as a wonderful and dear friend, in addition to being one of the best baseball players of all time.
“Not long ago, he and I were strolling through the streets of Washington, D.C., talking about how we’ve been closest friends for almost 60 years. ‘Who would have guessed that a Black child from Mobile, Alabama, would beat Babe Ruth’s home run record and a Jewish youngster from Milwaukee would become the Commissioner of Baseball all those years ago?’ Hank said.
“Aaron was adored by both his teammates and supporters. In every regard, he was a real Hall of Famer. He will be missed across the game, and his contributions and status in the game will be remembered forever.”
Horton on Hank Aaron’s life
Aaron persisted, overcoming fear and hatred and, in the end, doing everything he could to make this country a better place. His struggle was unique, but not dissimilar to Jackie Robinson’s. He handled everything with the same strength and dignity as Robinson.
Aaron refused to be defined by hatred or fear in the end. It would not be able to control him. But he never forgot, and long after he’d hit the last of his 755 home runs — the most in baseball history at the time — in 1976, he’d remain an outspoken and unapologetic fighter for racial rights in the United States.
It didn’t disturb him that he could still fan the flames of hatred and ignorance. He did so in 2014, after reflecting on President Barack Obama’s two terms in office.
“We’ve made progress and there have been advances,” he remarked, “but we still have a long way to go as a country.” “The biggest difference is that they wore hoods back then.” Neckties and starched shirts are now standard.”
After that remark, the Braves received a barrage of phone calls and letters, but Aaron had spoken regardless, knowing there would be repercussions.
The Braves pay tribute to Hank Aaron.
In a statement, Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said, “Hank Aaron’s extraordinary talent on the baseball field was only equaled by his decency and character, which shone brightly not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he made.” “His bravery in attempting to break the game’s all-time home run record set an example for millions of individuals inside and outside of athletics who aspired to attain their greatest goals.” His remarkable achievements and generous spirit will live on in Cooperstown forever. We express our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Billye, and his entire family on behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire Hall of Fame team.”
On July 20, 1976, as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, he hit his 755th and last home run off Angels right-hander Dick Drago. Aaron returned to the Braves’ front office immediately after retiring and worked in a variety of capacities, including player development and community relations.