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Hank Aaron - History

Hank Aaron - History

Hank Aaron

1934-

Baseball Plaer

Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile Alabama.He grew up in a poor family. He joined the Pritchett Athletics and then the Mobile Black Bears. He then played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the American Negro League. The Boston Braves then purchased him for $10,0000. After playing in the minor leagues Aaron made his major league debut on April 13, 1954, for the Milwaukee Braves.

Aaron remained a professional baseball player for over two decades, is best remembered for breaking a record once thought unbreakable: 714 lifetime total of home runs set by legendary Babe Ruth.He did that on April 8, 1974. Aaron ended his career with 755 home runs, 3771 hits, a 305 batting average and a guaranteed place in baseball's Hall of Fame in which he was inducted on August 1, 1982.


The Untold Truth Of Hank Aaron

The baseball world had to say goodbye to many diamond heroes in 2020. Hall of Famers such as Joe Morgan, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Whitey Ford all passed away just between the months of August and October, and 2021 hasn't fared better for the sport. In the first month of the year, Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda and pitcher Don Sutton both passed away. On January 22, the country had to say farewell to an icon known both on and off the baseball field, Hank Aaron.

As a player, Aaron's career places him as one of the greatest in the century-plus history of the sport. Both Bleacher Report and ESPN ranked him the fifth-greatest player in the sport's history, which still might be too low for him. Fellow Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle (who was ranked No. 13 and No. 9 on the lists) said this about Aaron in Baseball Digest in 1970: "As far as I'm concerned, [Hank] Aaron is the best ball player of my era. He is to baseball of the last fifteen years what Joe DiMaggio was before him. He's never received the credit he's due."

By 1970, Aaron still had six more years left in his career and would change the game and nation forever in those years. Aaron, in the face of racism, challenged an American hero and emerged scarred, but victorious. Here is the untold truth of "Hammerin' Hank Aaron."


Hank Aaron

Baseball player Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama to Estella Aaron and Herbert Aaron. He attended Central High School in Mobile, Alabama and transferred to the private Josephine Allen Institute, where he graduated in 1951. While finishing high school, Aaron played for the Mobile Black Bears, a semi-professional Negro league baseball team.

In 1951, Aaron signed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, where he played for three months before his contract was purchased by the Boston Braves. Aaron was assigned to the Eau Claire Braves, the Class-C minor league affiliate for the Boston Braves and was named Rookie of the Year in 1952. The next season, Aaron was promoted to the Jacksonville Braves, the Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. The following year, Aaron was invited to spring training for the newly relocated Milwaukee Braves and was offered a major league contract. In 1954, he made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Braves. By 1955, Aaron was named to the National League All-Star roster and captured his first National League batting title in 1956. The following season, Aaron won the National League MVP Award and led the Braves to win the 1957 World Series. Aaron went on to lead the Braves to another pennant championship in 1958, and received his first Golden Glove Award. In 1965, the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, where he became the first franchise player to hit his 500th career home run and in 1970, he was the first Brave to reach 3,000 career hits. On April 8, 1974 Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time homerun record with 715. Aaron was then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for the 1975-1976 season, when he broke the all-time RBI record. After the 1976 season, Aaron retired from professional baseball and returned to the Atlanta Braves organization as an executive. In 1982, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and was then named the Braves’ vice president and director of player development. Aaron continued to serve as vice president of the Braves. He also owned several car dealerships in Georgia and owned over thirty restaurant chains throughout the country. In 1990, he published his memoir I Had a Hammer.

Aaron was awarded the Spingarn Medal in 1976, from the NAACP. In 1999, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award to honor the best overall offensive performer in the American and National League. Later that year, Aaron was ranked fifth on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2001, Aaron was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President George W. Bush in June 2002.

Hank Aaron was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 1, 2016.


Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron (1934-2021)

Legendary baseball player Henry Louis Aaron was born February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, the third of eight children to Herbert Aaron, a shipyard worker at Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Company, and his wife, Estella. Aaron decided he wanted to be a major league baseball player after hearing a speech by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson while visiting Mobile on April 3, 1950, during spring training. While in high school, Aaron began playing for the Mobile Black Bears, a semi-pro team, and in 1952 began a season with the Indianapolis, Indiana Clowns. Aaron was the last player to come from the Negro Leagues and achieve success in Major League Baseball.

In 1954, Aaron was brought up to the Milwaukee Braves to replace an injured outfielder. Aaron hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. He continued to hit home runs in remarkable fashion for the next two decades. Aaron was the only major league player to hit at least twenty home runs in every season for twenty consecutive years, at least thirty for fifteen years, or at least forty for eight years. He was the first player to record more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. The Milwaukee Braves became the Atlanta Braves in 1966, and Aaron moved south with the team. On April 8, 1974, Aaron hit his 715th career home run, breaking the record held by Babe Ruth since 1935. His achievement came before a crowd of 53,775, the largest ever at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and was off a 4th inning pitch by Los Angeles Dodger Al Downing.

In the period when Aaron was closing in on Ruth’s home run record, he grew angry and disillusioned by the hate mail and physical threats he and his family received on a daily basis. When asked if he threw out the hate mail, Aaron replied that “No, I didn’t. That will never be thrown away…We still have to be reminded that things are not as good as we think they are.”

Although he will be remembered as the player who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron set a number of other records in Major League Baseball. He holds the record for most career home runs (755), most runs batted in (2,297), and most games played (3,298). Aaron also won three consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1958 through 1960, played in a record-tying twenty-four All-Star games and was named National League MVP in 1957. Hank Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. The Hank Aaron Award is given annually to the best overall hitter in each league. In 2002, Henry Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush, the highest honor given to a civilian by the American government. Aaron was a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

On January 22, 2021, Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron passed away in Atlanta, Georgia at the age of 86.


MLB legend Hank Aaron’s cause of death revealed

Aaron, the 86-year-old Hall of Famer and longtime Atlanta Braves right fielder, did not die from his first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Major League Baseball legend and Atlanta entrepreneur Hank Aaron’s cause of death has been revealed.

The 86-year-old Hall of Famer and longtime Atlanta Braves right fielder died of natural causes, according to an investigator in the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Aaron died Friday in his sleep.

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank,” Braves Chairman Terry McGuirk wrote earlier this week in a statement. “He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts.”

Last week’s news of Aaron’s death sparked some controversy on social media because he got the first of two coronavirus vaccine doses on Jan. 4 and had encouraged other Black Americans to get vaccinated as well. The ongoing distrust in the vaccine in the Black community may have been further exacerbated by Aaron’s passing.

“I don’t have any qualms about it at all, you know. I feel quite proud of myself for doing something like this,” Aaron said at the time, alongside a host of other respected Black seniors getting vaccinated at Morehouse School of Medicine. “It’s just a small thing that can help zillions of people in this country.”

As previously reported, Aaron’s death was confirmed by his daughter. The legendary player and businessman was lauded by celebrities and past presidents after his passing.

In 2002, President George W. Bush awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Born Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron in Mobile, Alabama in 1934 to Herbert and Estella Aaron, he began his professional career in the Negro Leagues in 1951 and debuted in Major League Baseball at the age of 23. He endured racist taunts and death threats but went on to cement his place in history.

While many Blacks maintain an understandable distrust in vaccination, the COVID-19 virus has also disproportionately affected Black people both in higher death rates and financial devastation.

President Joe Biden has vowed to make vaccine administration equitable through mobile clinics, vaccination centers and community partnerships.


Facing racism, Aaron still had hope, optimism

Hank Aaron kept the letters -- hundreds of thousands of letters -- that he received when chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record and beyond. They were vile letters, angry letters, threatening letters. Letters that revealed, in no uncertain terms, the dirty underbelly of a nation that has left its most fundamental issues of race and equality unresolved.

Aaron, who died Friday at the age of 86, kept those letters to remind himself -- and everybody else -- that the United States has only progressed to a point, that we still have so far to go.

And yet, even in chronicling the worst of us, Aaron always tried to see the best in us.

“He was very clear-eyed about America, but also a very positive person,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF). “That’s one of the wonderful things about being in his company and talking with him about the most difficult issues involving race and opportunity and inequality. There was always a sense of hopefulness and calm and focus about him, which I found incredibly comforting.”

The NAACP LDF is a non-profit that seeks structural changes in our society, promoting racial justice and equality. The organization has been fulfilling this purpose since 1940, but the importance of its work has been particularly pronounced in the past seven years, as the killings of Eric Garner, George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police have sparked outrage and protest and more widespread support of the cause. Major League Baseball and the owners and baseball operations representatives from all 30 teams donated to the LDF last summer.

Aaron had a decades-long relationship with the LDF. His wife, Billye, has sat on the organization’s board of directors for 45 years. In 2005, the LDF honored him with its Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award.

Long after he chased Ruth’s record in the face of so much hate and bile, Aaron continued to fight for civil rights by serving as an authentic sounding board for Ifill and others.

“He’s someone who lived through the arc of an extraordinary period in American history,” Ifill said. “He was always honest if you asked him about race and racism, which is really incredibly refreshing and important. That arc gave him a unique perspective and understanding of the forces that exist in this country that work against the promise of equality.”

Throughout his life, Aaron felt those forces at work. Growing up in the deeply segregated south, in Mobile, Ala., he had experienced both poverty and systemic racism. He had played in the Negro American League and broken the color barrier in the South Atlantic League. He had heard many racist taunts along the way.

But what Aaron endured as he neared the Babe’s record in 1973 and ྆ was on another level entirely. The letters, some of which are in the collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., were peppered with slurs, death threats, taunts and racist rage, all because a Black man had dared to hit more home runs than a white icon. By the time he hit his 715th career home run on April 8, 1974, Aaron had two personal security guards. The threats he had received were considered legitimate enough to be investigated by the FBI.

“It really made me see for the first time a clear picture of what this country is about,” Aaron told the New York Times in 1990. “My kids had to live like they were in prison because of kidnap threats, and I had to live like a pig in a slaughter camp. I had to duck. I had to go out the back door of the ballparks. I had to have a police escort with me all the time. I was getting threatening letters every single day. All of these things have put a bad taste in my mouth, and it won’t go away. They carved a piece of my heart away.”

And this ugliness did not cease when Aaron hit No. 715 or No. 755 or in his post-playing days. Aaron faced derision for the rest of his life. His former teammate, the great Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, recalled the treatment Aaron would receive when he returned to Milwaukee to play for the Brewers in 1975 and ’76.

“Del Crandall was our manager when Henry came back, and Del made it a point for me to be with Henry all the time after games,” Uecker said Friday. “Riding a cab back to the hotel or whatever it may be. We were that close. Hank and I were that close. I remember many times seeing hate mail that he got. It was awful. It was really bad. I got mail, because I was talking about him on the air. I got mail from idiotic people who would rip me for talking about Henry. It was bad. Our manager, you should have seen the hate mail that came into the manager’s office from stupid people. They were unbelievably vile and vicious.”

When Aaron spoke to USA Today in 2014 about the letters he had kept from 1974, a fresh batch of hate mail flooded the newspaper’s office. "Hammerin’ Hank" was a living legend who remained a victim of our worst sin.

“It’s a part of America, so there you have it,” Ifill said. “No one gets a free pass on this one. So he’s an important link in a chain of exceptional athletes who had to confront that kind of racism and who performed at the highest levels despite it and who also refuse to be silent.”

Ifill wants people to remember Aaron’s story whenever Black athletes face pushback for speaking up about inequality.

“Hank Aaron is someone who was very talented, a mild-mannered person who was attacked in the worst ways and whose family was threatened,” Ifill said. “He played through it and over it. He’s an example of how absurd it is to try to silence athletes, when it was athletes who very often had to encounter the everyday of American racial or ethnic discrimination.”

Aaron encountered that discrimination with calm, with grace, with honesty and with optimism that one day we could be better. Those are the qualities -- far beyond his home run tally -- that many will remember him for.


Remembering The Legacy And Contributions of Hank Aaron

Today we remember Hank Aaron, the baseball legend who changed the face of the sport. Aaron died today at age 86, but his legacy as an all time great will live on.

Aaron was raised in Alabama during the Jim Crow era. He practiced his swing using a stick and bottle caps because his parents couldn’t afford baseball equipment. Still he found the passion and perseverance to dream of making it to the Major League. In 1954 he did just that, debuting with the Milwaukee Braves. By the end of his rookie year he was nick-named “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank” because of his powerful swing. During his 23-year major league career he hit 755 total home runs, breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714. Aaron held the record for 33 years. After his retirement, he stayed involved in the sport in managerial roles, serving as the Senior Vice President of the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, and in 1999 the MLB created the “Hank Aaron Award” in his honor.

Aaron’s impact and influence stretched beyond sports. In 1976, the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal, which honors Black Americans for outstanding achievements. In 1995, he established the Chasing the Dream Foundation, which provides grants for children to pursue their passions. Bill Clinton presented Aaron with the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001. The following year he received an even higher honor when President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom–the highest honor a civilian can receive. These accomplishments are a testament to the type of person Aaron was both on and off the field. Ebony followed Aaron throughout his career and we will honor the bright light he brought to this world by continuing to dream.


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(Aaron’s used the same wording more than once — in “I Had a Hammer,” Henry once wrote that the men who run baseball “wear neckties instead of robes and hoods” while recounting an MLB owner who claimed “he’d rather hire a trained monkey than a Black.”)

Bob Nightengale, who interviewed Aaron, insisted Henry wasn’t calling Republicans racist or comparing them to the Klan. But nearly seven years later, we saw a Republican president and Republican members of Congress salute a violent insurrection (of which a West Virginia Republican lawmaker joined), replete with Confederate flags waved and swastikas drawn in the Capitol. Journalists are still confused by a Black athlete who speaks their mind while being careful of how they speak. I believe Hammerin’ Hank called his shot.

Jones’ next post an hour after featured a video captioned “Twitter vs reality.” The clip shows two dogs barking at each other, but only while being separated by a gate. Once the gate is lifted, the dogs stop showing their fangs. The Jones’ implication is obvious, given the online drag he was still undergoing: None of you people would speak up if you had to face any real consequences.


Record breaker

Being almost entirely self-taught, Aaron batted cross handed in his early years, �use no one had told him not to," according to one of his biographers. Still, Aaron's sensational hitting with the Clowns prompted a Boston Braves scout to purchase his contract in 1952. Assigned to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the minor Northern League (where coaching corrected his batting style), Aaron batted .336 and won the league's rookie of the year award. The following year he was assigned to the Braves' Jacksonville, Florida team, in the South Atlantic (Sally) League. Even while enduring the taunting of fans and racial insults from fellow players in the segregated south, he went on to bat .362, with 22 homers and 125 runs batted in (RBIs). He was named the league's most valuable player in 1953.

During winter ball in Puerto Rico in 1953 and 1954 Aaron began playing positions in the outfield. In the spring of 1954 he trained with the major league Milwaukee Braves and won a starting position when the regular right fielder suffered an injury. Although Aaron was sidelined late in the season with a broken ankle, he batted .280 as a rookie that year. Over the next twenty-two seasons, this quiet, six-foot, right-handed All-Star established himself as one of the most durable and skilled hitters in major league history.

In fourteen of the seasons Aaron played for the Braves, he batted .300 or more. In fifteen seasons he hit 30 or more homers, scored 100 or more runs, and drove in 100 or more runs. In his long career Aaron led all major league players in RBIs with 2,297. He played in 3,298 games, which ranked him third among players of all time. Aaron twice led the National League in batting, and four times led the league in homers. His consistent hitting produced a career total of 3,771 hits, again ranking him third all-time. When Aaron recorded his three thousandth hit on May 7, 1970, he was the youngest player (at thirty-six) since Ty Cobb (1886�) to reach that milestone. Aaron played in twenty-four All-Star games, tying a record. His lifetime batting average was .305, and in two World Series he batted .364. He also held the record for hitting home runs in three straight National League playoff games, which he accomplished in 1969 against the New York Mets.


Tributes

People remembered Aaron for his humanity and his grace in the face of virulent racism.

Former MLB player Chipper Jones wrote, in a tweet shared on the Atlanta Braves’ page, “I can’t imagine what Hank Aaron went through in his lifetime. He had every right to be angry or militant…..but never was! He spread his grace on everything and every one he came in contact with. Epitome of class and integrity. RIP Henry Aaron! #HammerinHank.”

The New York Yankees wrote, “The New York Yankees mourn the loss of baseball legend Hammerin’ Hank Aaron. His impact on and off the field will never be forgotten. We send our condolences to his family & loved ones.”

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