Baseball Player & Front Office Executive
February 5, 1934 – January 22, 2021
Legendary American baseball player, Hank Aaron, has sadly passed away at the age of 86. Aaron was considered by many baseball fans and analysts as one of the greatest players of all time. Aaron played a total of 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He also spent time playing in independent Negro Leagues and the MLB’s minor league system. As a big leaguer, Aaron set several batting records for hits and runs scored.
For 33 years, his 755 career homeruns were the most among any athlete to play in the MLB. Despite this record since being broken, he still holds the records for most RBIs (2297), most extra base hits (1477), and total bases (6856). He also sits in the top five for career hits (3771) and games played (3298).
Aaron had one of the most successful careers in league history. Due to his many accomplishments, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and ranked #5 by The Sporting News on their “100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time” list. In 1999, MLB introduced the Hank Aaron Award which is presented annually to recognize the top offensive player in the league.
Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama, and was one of eight children in his family. Growing up in a poor family, he couldn’t afford baseball equipment, so he practiced hitting bottle caps with sticks. At the age of 15, he got his first MLB tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite not making the team, he would go on to play with an independent Negro League team.
In 1952, he signed his first MLB contract with the Boston Braves. During his rookie season, he played in the minor leagues and won the Rookie of the Year award.
Finally, in 1954, Aaron was invited to his first MLB spring training by the Milwaukee Braves. On the final day of spring training, he made the pro team and was promoted from the minor league system. His first MLB game took place on April 13th, 1954. He would go on to play in the league from 1954-1973.
During his illustrious career, Aaron hit 24 or more homeruns in every season but his rookie one. He is also one of only two players to ever hit 30 or more homeruns in 15 seasons. A powerhouse at the plate, Aaron was beloved by his teammates for his offensive abilities on the diamond. In total, he played in 24 all-star games, won 3 gold gloves, 2 batting titles, was named league MVP, and won the World Series in 1957.
Following his playing career, he rejoined the Braves as an executive. During this time, he held several roles including Vice President & Director of Player Development. He was also instrumental in helping the MLB create programs to help get more minorities playing baseball.
Aaron was married twice during his lifetime and raised 6 children. He is survived by wife, children, and their families.