Celebrating influential black Americans this February!
Join us as we celebrate influential black Americans each week this February.
Exhibiting an understated style that became his trademark, Hank Aaron became the all-time home-run champion via one of the most consistent offensive careers in baseball history, with 3,771 hits. In addition to his 755 home runs, he also set Major League records for total bases, extra-base hits and RB’Is. Aaron was the 1957 National League MVP, won three Gold Gloves for his play in right field and was named to a record 25 All-Star squads.
Born into humble circumstances on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, Hank Aaron ascended the ranks of the Negro Leagues to become a Major League Baseball icon. Aaron played as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves for nearly 23 years, during which time he broke many of baseball’s most distinguished records, including most career home runs (755)—a record that stood for more than two decades.
In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron came home with his team. On April 15, he banged out his record 715th home run 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 home runs. 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.