By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
Known as the home run king for breaking Babe Ruth’s record, Henry Louis Aaron, also known as “Hammerin” Hank Aaron, died on Friday, January 22, at the age of 86.
Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 and was an American professional baseball player, right fielder, and Negro League great. His baseball career spanned 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 was 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. This includes hitting 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973 and is only one of two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
In his last two seasons, Aaron was primarily a designated hitter. He was named an NL All-Star for 20 seasons and an AL All-Star for one. He holds the record for the most All-Star selections with 25, while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial.
Aaron 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 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).
After his retirement, Aaron held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves, including senior vice president. 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.
In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron as the fifth best player on the list of “100 Greatest Baseball Players”. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.