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Henry Louis Aaron

Also Known As: "Hank", "Hammer", "Hammerin' Hank", "Bad Henry"
Birthplace: Mobile, Mobile County, AL, United States
Death: January 22, 2021 (86)
Atlanta, Fulton County, GA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Herbert Aaron and Estella “Stella” Aaron
Husband of Private
Ex-husband of Private
Father of Private; Private; Private; Gary Aaron (twin) and Private
Brother of Herbert Aaron, Jr.; Alfred Aaron; Private; Gloria Delilah Robinson; Tommie Lee Aaron and 2 others

Occupation: Professional baseball player.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Hank Aaron

Widely considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron’s most notable achievement was breaking the career home run record set by Babe Ruth. During his professional career (1954-1976), Aaron performed at a consistently high level for an extended period of time. Formerly baseball's all-time home-run king, Aaron played 23 years as an outfielder for the Milwaukee (later Atlanta) Braves and Milwaukee Brewers (1954–76). He holds many of baseball's most distinguished records, including runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856) and most years with 30 or more home runs (15). He is also in the top five for career hits and runs. Aaron also had the record for most career home runs (755) until Barry Bonds broke it with his 756th home run on August 7, 2007, in San Francisco.

He was born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934 in a poor black section of Mobile called "Down The Bay," Alabama to Herbert and Estella (née Pritchett) Aaron, the third of seven children. Aaron and his family moved to the middle class Toulminville neighborhood when he was a young boy. When he got to high school, Aaron played shortstop and third base on his school's team. Aaron, perhaps sensing he had a bigger future ahead of him, quit school in 1951 to play in the Negro Leagues for the Indianapolis Clowns.

It wasn't a long stay. After leading his club to victory in the league's 1952 World Series, Aaron was recruited the following June to the Milwaukee Braves for $10,000. The Braves assigned their new player to one of their farm clubs, The Eau Claire Bears. Again Aaron did not disappoint, getting named Northern League Rookie of the Year.

A year later, the 20-year-old Hank Aaron got his Major League start when a spring training injury to a Braves outfielder created a roster spot for him. Following a respectable first year (he hit .280), Aaron charged through the 1955 season with a blend of power (27 home runs), run production (106 runs batted in), and average (.328) that would come to define his long career. In 1956, after winning the first of two of his batting titles, Aaron registered an unrivaled 1957 season, taking home the National League MVP and nearly nabbing the Triple Crown by hitting 44 homeruns, knocking in another 132, and batting .322.

That same year, Aaron demonstrated his ability to come up big when it counted most. His 11th inning homerun in late September propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games.

With the game still years away from the multi-million dollar contracts that would later dominate player salaries, Aaron's annual pay in 1959 was around $30,000. When he equaled that amount that same year in endorsements, Aaron realized there may be more in store for him if he continued to hit for power. "I noticed that they never had a show called 'Singles Derby,'" he said.

He was right, of course, and over the next decade and a half, the always-fit Aaron banged out a steady stream of 30 and 40 homerun seasons. In 1973, at the age of 39, Aaron was still a force, clubbing a remarkable 40 homeruns to finish just one run behind Babe Ruth's all-time career mark of 714.

But the chase to beat the Babe's record revealed that world of baseball was far from being free of the racial tensions that prevailed around it. Letters poured into the Braves offices, as many as 3,000 a day for Aaron. Some wrote to congratulate him, but many others were appalled that a black man should break baseball's most sacred record. Death threats were a part of the mix.

Still, Aaron pushed forward. He didn't try to inflame the atmosphere, but he didn't keep his mouth shut either, speaking out against the league's lack of ownership and management opportunities for minorities. "On the field, blacks have been able to be super giants," he said. "But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again."

In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Aaron came home with his team. On April 15, he banged out his record 715th homerun at 9:07 P.M. in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph and a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks and a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron's parents were there to greet him.

Overall, Aaron finished the 1974 season with 20 homeruns. He played two more years, moving back to Milwaukee to finish out his career to play in the same city where he'd started.

After retiring as a player, Aaron moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was published in 1990.

In 1999, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of breaking Ruth's record, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall hitter in each league.

Hank Aaron was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.

Source: Wikipedia, Biography

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Hank Aaron's Timeline

February 5, 1934
Mobile, Mobile County, AL, United States
January 22, 2021
Age 86
Atlanta, Fulton County, GA, United States