Hammerin Hank Aaron is a treasure and iconic figure in the history of MLB baseball as it intersects with race, society and the African-American experience in America. Today he turns 84 years of age and has been blessed with a long journey filled with watershed moments, historical feats and socially-transformative accomplishments.
Happy 84th birthday to Hall of Famer Hank Aaron! Trivia: If you took away all 755 home runs, he still would’ve had more than 3,000 hits. #TheHammer
Aaron is an American legend as well as arguably the greatest hitter in MLB history. He retired as the all-time MLB leader in home runs in 1976 after breaking Babe Ruths mythical record of 714 homers.
Aaron finished his career with 755 blasts and held that distinction until Barry Bondss juice-aided demolition of the record in 2007.
It seemed justly symbolic that Aaron hit number 715 on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta, the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement.
Happy 84th birthday to Hank Aaron https://t.co/5g4JNj7aPW
Aaron grew up in Alabama in the heart of Jim Crow. He experienced death threats, racial epithets and endured hatred from bigots as he approached Ruths record and throughout his career.
His experience and historic triumph is unique, inspirational and unto itself.
Hank, the third child of Estella and Herbert Aaron was an All-Star For 21 straight years. For 20 consecutive years, he slugged at least 20 home runs or more. Fourteen times he hit over .300 in a major league season and eight times he hit 40 home runs or more. Over that period he also collected more RBI’s and more extra base hits than anyone in history.
Happy 84th to Hank Aaron, shown here as a 19-yr 2B old w #Jacksonville in ’53. We forget the #HammerinHank played in the Negro Leagues w #Indianapolis Clowns in ’51, & then integrated the SALLY League ’53. A true pioneer. His @sabr bio https://t.co/MWC2IVv8it #BlackHistoryMonth
Throughout his career Aaron was a vocal advocate for racial equality in baseball, not just on the field but in the front office.
“On the field, Blacks have been able to be supergiants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again,” Aaron once said in reference to a lack of black managers and black front office personnel.
In 1982, he was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
After his playing days, Aaron returned to the Braves in an executive capacity, further showing the ability of African-Americans to serve in a decision-making role as well. Aaron served as Vice President of Player Development. In 1989, the Atlanta Braves named him Senior Vice President of the club and assistant to the club President.
Happy 84th birthday to The Last Hero, Henry Aaron…Feb. 5, 1934
In 1999, Hank was named to Major League Baseball’s “All-Century Team.”
The culmination of his colossal contributions to American athletics and society was in 2002, when he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.