Hank Aaron –
Born into poor conditions on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, Hank Aaron ascended the positions of the Negro Leagues becoming a Major League Baseball icon. American baseball icon Hank Aaron, nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank,” is broadly regarded as among the best hitters in the annals of the sport. For almost 23 years (1954–76), Aaron played as an outfielder for the Braves as well as the Milwaukee Brewers, establishing several records and winning numerous honours on the way.
He’s also rated one of baseball’s Top 5 players for career hits and runs. For over two decades, Aaron held the record for many career home runs (755), surpassing Babe Ruth’s homerun record on April 8, 1974. Aaron and his family moved to the middle class Toulminville area when he was 8 years old. Aaron developed a powerful affinity for baseball and football in a young age, and tended to focus more heavily on sports than his studies. On the baseball diamond, he played shortstop and third base.
In his junior year, Aaron transferred to the Josephine Allen Institute, a nearby private school that had an organized baseball program. Prior to the conclusion of his first year at Allen, he’d more than demonstrated his skills on the baseball field. Afterward, perhaps sensing that he had a larger future ahead of him, in 1951, the 18-year old Aaron leave school to play for the Negro Baseball League’s Indianopolis Clowns.
It was not a long stay. After leading his team to success in the league’s 1952 World Series, in June 1952, Aaron was recruited by the Milwaukee Braves (once of Boston and after of Atlanta) for $10,000. The Braves delegated their new player to among their farm clubs, The Eau Claire Bears. Again, Aaron failed to disappoint, earning the esteemed title of “Northern League Rookie of the Year.” The exact same year, Aaron shown his skill to come up big when it counted most.
Together with the match still years away in the multimillion-dollar contracts that would later rule player wages, Aaron’s yearly pay in 1959 was around $30,000. When he equaled that sum that same year in sanctions, Aaron understood there might be more in store for him if he continued to hit for power. “I found they never had a show called ‘Singles Derby,'” he once described. He was right, needless to say, and over the following ten years as well as a half, the constantly-healthy Aaron banged out a constant flow of 30 and 40 home run seasons. In 1973, in the age of 39, Aaron was still a force, clubbing a remarkable 40 home runs to complete only one run behind Babe Ruth’s all time career mark of 714.
However, the pursuit to beat the Babe’s record shown that world of baseball was far from being free of the racial tensions that prevailed around it. Letters poured in the Braves offices, as many as 3,000 a day for Aaron. Some wrote to congratulate him, but a lot of others were appalled that the black man should break baseball’s most sacred record. Death threats were a portion of the mixture.
However, Aaron pushed forward. He did not attempt to inflame the atmosphere, but he did not keep his mouth close either, speaking out against the league’s lack of possession and management opportunities for minorities. “About the field, blacks have had the opportunity to be superb giants,” he once said. “But, after our playing days are over, here is the conclusion of it and we return to the rear of the bus again.”
In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron came home together with his team. It ended up being a success and also a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks as well as a group, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron’s parents were there to greet him. Overall, Aaron completed 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 exact same city where he had began.
He was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was released in 1990. In 1999, to observe the 25th anniversary of breaking Ruth’s record, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award, given yearly to the top overall hitter in every league. Hank Aaron was honored together with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.