Longtime king of baseball and Braves Hall of Fame member Hank Aaron dies at 86

Hank Aaron, legendary slugger and Hall of Famer, has passed away at the age of 86, the Atlanta Braves announced Friday morning. CBS46 in Atlanta first reported the news.

Aaron established himself as an all-time big in the inner circle during his 23-year career with the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers from 1954 to 1976.

In said career, Aaron hit .305 / .374 / .555 (155 OPS +) with 624 doubles, 755 homers, 2,297 RBI, 2,174 runs, 3,771 hits and 240 steals. He retired as the all-time home run leader and held the record for decades. He’s still the all-time leader in RBI and total bases. He also holds the record for most all-star games at 25 and most seasons as an all-star at 21 (for a while the MLB held two all-star games a year).

NL 1957 MVP Aaron also won three golden gloves and two batting titles while leading the league at home four times, RBI four times, run three times, strike twice, double four times, strike four times and OPS three times. He won the World Series with the Braves in 1957 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame on his first try in 1982.

The biggest moment I remember most of Aaron’s career was passing Babe Ruth’s 714 career home runs on April 8, 1974. Here’s the great Vin Scully on call:

In terms of career stats, Aaron stacks up as well as anyone. He is fourth in points history, third in hits, 13th in doubles, second in home runs, first in RBI, 27th in steps, 24th in OPS +, first in total goals, first in extra base hits , seventh in time in base, fourth in intentional marches. It is even fourth for the sacrificial flies.

Few can even come close to the kind of statistical prowess Aaron has brought to the field. For example, he is one of three players with at least 2000 points and 2000 RBIs (Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez). Try this one: his lead in total bases is 722.

Among positional players, Aaron ranks fifth in the career war behind Barry Bonds, Ruth, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb.

“I want to extend my deepest and warmest condolences to the Aaron family on their loss today,” Bonds, the current all-time home leader, said in a statement on Instagram. “I have been fortunate enough to spend time with Hank on several occasions during my career and have always had the deepest respect and admiration for everything he has done on and off the pitch. He is an icon, a legend and a true hero. many, who will be missed forever. “

Aaron’s prodigious offense has not been relegated to regular season play. In 17 playoff games, he hit .362 / .405 / .710 with six homers and 16 RBIs. The 1957 World Series title was the first for the Braves since moving to Milwaukee from Boston. In that series, Aaron went 11 for 28 with a triple and three homers. No one else on his team has had more than five hits and Aaron led seven of the Braves’ 22 points. In the 1969 NLCS, the Braves were swept away by the Mets in three games, but Aaron went 5 for 14 with two doubles and three homers while leading seven of the Braves’ 15 runs at home.

“Hank Aaron is almost at the top of the list of all-time great players,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “His monumental achievements as a player have only been surpassed by his dignity and integrity as a person. Hank symbolized the best of our game, and his overall excellence provided Americans and fans around the world with an example to aspire to. The career demonstrates that a person who humbles themselves to work every day can make their way into history – and find a way to shine like no other. ”

“Hank has enthusiastically supported our efforts to celebrate the best in the game and find his next generation of stars, including through the Hank Aaron Award, which recognizes the offensive excellence of Major League players, and the Hank Aaron Invitational, which offers exposure to elite young players. He has become a close friend of mine in recent years following his annual visit to the World Series. This friendship is one of the greatest honors of my life. I am eternally grateful for Hank’s impact on our sport and the society he represents, and he will always hold a special place in the history of our game. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I offer my deepest condolences to the wife of Hank, Billye, their families, the fans of Atlanta and Milwaukee, and the millions of admirers deserved by one of the pillars of our game. “

Braves President Terry McGuirk issued the following statement:

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank. He has been a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always thanks to the efforts of the community. His incredible talent and his determination helped him achieve the greatest achievements, but he never lost his humble nature.Henry Louis Aaron was not only our icon, but an icon in Major League Baseball and around the world. His success in diamonds is matched only by his commercial accomplishments off the field and crowned by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.

“We are heartbroken and think of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Cette and her grandchildren.”

Aaron was born and raised in conditions bordering on poverty in Alabama and had to participate in making money for the family from an early age, choosing cotton among other jobs. His family couldn’t afford baseball equipment for him, so he learned to hit with a broom and bottle caps. When he arrived in high school, his talent took hold and he caught up with the Indianapolis Clowns of a Black League at the age of 17. He spent 87 games in the C League (roughly the equivalent of Class A these days) at 18, then 137 in A League (around Double-A or Triple-A) at 19 before hitting the big ones in 1954 at 20 and never look. return.

He finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year poll in 1954. The following year he was an All-Star, finished ninth in the MVP vote and led the league in doubles. Two years later he won the MVP title and the Braves were world champions. He wouldn’t miss another All-Star game in a season before the age of 42 – his final year.

As stated, Aaron wasn’t just one of the greatest – otherwise the greatest – baseball players ever. He was an exemplary human off the pitch, wearing modest decorum until his last days. Current Astros manager Dusty Baker invented the Braves in 1968 and played with the already legendary Aaron until 1974. Friday, Baker told Astros reporter Brian McTaggart, “[Aaron] was right behind my dad, and my dad represented the world to me. ”

In addition to all of his baseball accolades, Aaron was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 2001 and the President’s Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2002. Aaron now has an award nominated for him , as the Hank Aaron Award is given to the best hitter in each league, each season by Major League Baseball.

“My wife, Sue, and I are terribly saddened and heartbroken by the passing of the great Henry Aaron, a man we truly loved, and we offer our love and condolences to his wonderful wife, Billye,” said the former Commissioner of MLB, Allan H “Bud” Selig in a statement.

“Besides being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank was a wonderful, dear person and a wonderful, dear friend. It wasn’t too long ago that he and I walked the streets together. streets of Washington, DC and let’s talk has been best of friends for over 60 years. Then Hank said, “Who would have thought all those years ago that a black kid from Mobile, Alabama would break the home run record? of Babe Ruth and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the commissioner of baseball?

“Aaron was loved by his teammates and fans. He was a true Hall of Fame in every way. He will be missed throughout the game, and his contributions to the game and his reputation in the game will never be forgotten.”

Part of the Aaron Hall of Fame plaque features a quote from Georgia Congressman Andrew Young that says the following:

“During his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity and quiet competence. He did not seek the adoration bestowed on other national sports heroes, but he has now earned it.”

The baseball world lost one of its truly iconic figures on Friday.

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