RIP Hank Aaron. You smacked dingers like no one else. And you were a pretty good guy, too.
He’ll always be the home run king in my book, unless someone steroid-free breaks it. Very classy guy, he’ll be missed.
What the hell is going on with Hall of Famers?
Aaron was basically an MVP candidate every year for almost two decades.
I mentioned to a friend that Hank still holds the career RBI record, and he replied, “And if there’s a dignity stat, he should hold that record, too.”
The news just mentioned the incessant string of racist death threats he got near/after he set the HR record. I didn’t remember that. I can’t imagine what it takes to live in that milieu, be as good as he was, an still maintain your dignity.
Aw, man! This totally sucks!
I’m compelled to repost this from 2004:
Aaron was a machine cranking out high numbers year in year out. His high water mark for homers was just 47 in one season, but less than 30 in a year was rare for him. He kept on getting hits and RBIs the same way all the way through his career, like a locomotive.
My father, who grew up in Wisconsin, was a Braves fan in the '50s and ‘60s. I was 8, going on 9, when Aaron broke Ruth’s record, and I remember my dad remarking to me that, back then, he’d thought of Eddie Mathews as the Braves’ top slugger (though he certainly recognized Aaron as one of their top players). But, Aaron wound up having a longer career than Mathews, and, as you note, was just incredibly consistent all the way.
This was the first year I ever submitted a list to the Celebrity Death Pool thread, and Henry Aaron was one of my picks. So he’s given me my first ever DP points.
I want to give them back.
He was a great ballplayer, of course, but he was also a decent, humble, incredibly gracious man. An exemplary ambassador for the Braves, baseball, and the city of Atlanta.
Here’s a fact that should blow you away that I saw on Twitter:
Hank Aaron had more career singles than Mike Schmidt had hits.
Also: Hank Aaron is the all-time leader in extra base hits.
Another interesting stat: 755 career homers, but never more than 47 in a single season. That’s power AND average!
Power and average, for sure. His career BA was .305, which is really impressive for a power hitter in the modern era.
Hank was on the old 60s TV series Home Run Derby. He won the most head to head contests. I remember seeing the show on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. “Young” Henry Aaron, as he was called so often back then, was a growing phenom. I still remember the resignation I’d see in the faces of his opponents as they chatted with announcers. Their words were typically “Wow! He’s a really good hitter, but I’ll try my best to get more runs!”, but you could almost see a thought balloon reading “How did I end up going against this guy?”
Until Barry Bonds got close, Aaron was the leader in extra base hits by a hundred. Unsurprisingly, he is also the career leader in total bases, by a margin of about two MVP seasons. There is a bigger gap between Aaron and #2 (Stan Musial) than there is between Musial and the number 10 guy.
And in one of those meaningless statistical flukes, Aaron had the same number of singles and RBIs: 2297.
He was quite a gentleman. It was so nice to have him back in Milwaukee with the Brewers at the end of his career, we loved him in WI. He was on the roster for Milwaukee’s only World series victory in 1957. He had a .393 average and 11 hits, including a triple, three home runs and seven RBI, best stats in the series, of the regular players.
I remember learning in school about the death threats Aaron received warning him not to break Babe Ruth’s record. How could the people who sent those threats think they’d be thought of as anything other than utter morons?
That’s how we generally think of those morons now. We can thank Hank Aaron for helping put those viewpoints in the dustbin of history.
He was my first favorite player, and I had never even seen him play or saw his face. I became a baseball and Yankee fan as a kid in 1977, and growing up in NJ, heard a whole bunch about Babe Ruth from other kids, teachers, etc. Greatest ever, blah blah blah. Then one day my dad brought home a World Almanac. I found the page with the MLB all-time HR leaders and noticed Babe Ruth at #2. Who’s this Hank Aaron guy? After some non-Google-related research, I was mesmerized. Loved the guy ever since, although Graig Nettles became my favorite players in 1978.
Over the decades, I slowly began appreciating how great of an all-around player he was. A stat being thrown around on the NY airways today was that you could take away each and every HR from his stats, and he would still have over 3,000 hits. He never struck out 100 times in any season. Tim Kurkjian on ESPN today said he is the #3 best ever defensive right fielder.
He also appeared to be perfectly healthy a couple of weeks ago, as I saw his COVID vaccine being administered.
This is the one that gets me. Take away all the dingers and he STILL breaks 3k.