Baseball legend Hammerin’ Hank Aaron dies age 86
Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who battled racial prejudice and hatred on his way to breaking the major
leagues’ career home run record, died Friday morning at the age of 86, the Atlanta Braves announced.
Aaron joined the Braves management to become one of the few African-Americans in a baseball executive
position after retiring as a player in 1976 with 755 career home runs. His cause of death was not immediately
reported. Aaron’s hitting prowess earned him the nickname ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ and his power was attributed to
strong wrists. He was somewhat shy and unassuming and did not have the flair of contemporaries Willie Mays
and Mickey Mantle.
Born Feb. 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, Henry Louis Aaron reached the majors at age 20, when he hit .280 with 13
home runs and finished fourth in the National League rookie of the year voting.
He quickly established himself as one of the game’s most dependable sluggers.
In his second season, Aaron drove in 100 runs for the first time and made the first of a record 21 consecutive All-
Star Game appearances.
He became known as “Hammerin’ Hank,” hitting at least 30 home runs in 15 different seasons and driving in at
least 100 runs 11 times.
Yet despite his consistent excellence, the game’s ultimate honors often eluded him. Aaron won only one league
Most Valuable Player award and one World Series title, both in 1957 when he led the Milwaukee Braves to victory
over the New York Yankees in seven games.
His signature moment came on April 8, 1974, when he broke the most cherished record in baseball history. Tied
with the legendary Babe Ruth with 714 career home runs, Aaron hit No. 715 with a fourth-inning blast off Los
Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing.
Basketball legend Magic Johnson wrote:
‘Rest in Peace to American hero, icon, and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. ‘I still remember where I was back in
the day when he set the record, at that time, to become the home run all-time leader.
While a legendary athlete, Hank Aaron was also an extraordinary businessman and paved the way for other
athletes like me to successfully transition into business. ‘Hank Aaron is on the Mount Rushmore for the greatest
baseball players of all time! Rest In Peace, my friend. Cookie and I are praying for the entire Aaron family.’