HANK "HAMMER" AARON

IN MEMORY OF

1934-2021

Henry Louis Aaron (February 5, 1934 – January 22, 2021), nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", was an American professional baseball right fielder who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1954 through 1976. He spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL).

Aaron is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His 755 career home runs broke the long-standing MLB record set by Babe Ruth and stood as the most for 33 years; Aaron still holds many other MLB batting records. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.[1] In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its list of the "100 Greatest Baseball Players".[2] In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Hank aaron memory.jpg

Henry Louis Aaron (February 5, 1934 – January 22, 2021), nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", was an American professional baseball right fielder who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1954 through 1976. He spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL).

Aaron is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His 755 career home runs broke the long-standing MLB record set by Babe Ruth and stood as the most for 33 years; Aaron still holds many other MLB batting records. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its list of the "100 Greatest Baseball Players". In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Aaron was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama. Aaron had seven siblings, including Tommie Aaron, who played major-league baseball with him. He appeared briefly in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career. By his final MLB season, Aaron was the last Negro league baseball player on a major league roster.

Aaron played the vast majority of his MLB games in right field, though he appeared at several other infield and outfield positions. In his last two seasons, he was primarily a designated hitter. Aaron was an NL All-Star for 20 seasons and an AL All-Star for one season, and he holds the record for the most All-Star selections (25),[a] while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron is in second place in home runs (755) and at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game's key career power hitting records.

After his retirement, Aaron held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves, including senior vice president. In 1988, Aaron was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1999, MLB introduced the Hank Aaron Award to recognize the top offensive players in each league. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. He was named a 2010 Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society in recognition of accomplishments that reflect the ideals of Georgia's founders. Aaron resided near Atlanta until his death.

 

FAMOUS QUOTES FROM HANK AARON

"It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course."

"My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging."

"I'm hoping someday that some kid, black or white, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I'd be pulling for him."

"The triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Home runs win a lot of games, but I never understood why fans are so obsessed with them."

"On the field, blacks have been able to be super giants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again."

"I don't feel right unless I have a sport to play or at least a way to work up a sweat."

"Failure is a part of success"

 

"You can only milk a cow so long, then you're left holding the pail."

"I never doubted my ability, but when you hear all your life you're inferior, it makes you wonder if the other guys have something you've never seen before. If they do, I'm still looking for it."

"I tell young people - including my granddaughter - there is no shortcut in life. You have to take it one step at a time and work hard. And you have to give back."

"The pitcher has got only a ball. I've got a bat. So the percentage in weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting."

"Guessing what the pitcher is going to throw is 80% of being a successful hitter. The other 20% is just execution."

"I'm hoping someday that some kid, black or white, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I'd be pulling for him."

"I looked for the same pitch my whole career, a breaking ball. All of the time. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn't throw it past me, none of them."

"I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That's when you've got to be serious.When I get out on the field, nothing's a joke to me. I don't feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face."

"Jackie was speaking at a drugstore, and I said, 'I'm not going to get this opportunity again, so I better take my chances and listen to Jackie Robinson now.' Little did I know, I got front row seats, and next to me was my father."

 

"I never thought we'd ever have a black president. President Obama has done such a tremendous job... He just has been unable to get what he needs to be moved at the level it should be moved."

 

"Some people resented the fact I was trying to break a white man's record."

"People were not ready to accept me as a baseball player. The easiest part of that whole thing, chasing the Babe's record, was playing the game itself. The hardest thing was after the game was over, dealing with the press. They could never understand."

 

"The thing I like about baseball is that it's one-on-one. You stand up there alone, and if you make a mistake, it's your mistake. If you hit a home run, it's your home run."

"I don't see pitches down the middle anymore - not even in batting practice."

"Didn’t come up here to read.  Came up here to hit."

"I am very proud to be an American. This country has so much potential, I'd just like to see things better, or whatever, and I think it will be."

 

"For many years, even after Jackie Robinson, baseball was so segregated, really. You just didn't expect us to have a chance to do anything. Baseball was meant for the lily-white."

 

"Too bad integration didn't come sooner, because there were so many ballplayers that could have made the major leagues. That's why, you look back, and - not to take away anything from Babe Ruth or some of those other guys - they didn't play against the greatest ballplayers in the world."

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