Major League Baseball legend, Hall of Famer, and twenty-five time All-Star Hank Aaron passed away Friday at the age of 86 in Georgia.
Aaron’s major league career started with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and ended with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976.
“My wife, Sue, and I are terribly saddened and heart broken by the passing of the great Henry Aaron, a man we truly loved, and we offer our love and our condolences to his wonderful wife, Billye,” Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig says in a statement. Aaron was praised Friday as a wonderful man and athlete.
“Besides being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank was a wonderful and dear person and a wonderful and dear friend. Not long ago, he and I were walking the streets of Washington, D.C together and talking about how we’ve been the best of friends for more than 60 years. Then Hank said: “Who would have ever thought all those years ago that a black kid from Mobile, Alabama would break Babe Ruth’s homerun record and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the Commissioner of Baseball?”
In 1957 Aaron led the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series title over the defending champion New York Yankees. As a member of the Brewers, Aaron hit his 755th home run at County Stadium. Aaron’s home run record lasted 33 years before it was broken – amid controversy – by Barry Bonds in 2007.
Aaron’s influence extends beyond the statistics. As a child growing up in Mobile, Alabama and as a player, Aaron persevered through countless fits of racism with class and dignity.
Hank Aaron is a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. In 1999, Major League Baseball introduced the Hank Aaron Award which recognizes the top offensive player in each league.
“Aaron was beloved by his teammates and by his fans. He was a true Hall of Famer in every way. He will be missed throughout the game, and his contributions to the game and his standing in the game will never be forgotten,” Selig concludes.
Forty-five years after his final game, Aaron remains major league baseball’s all-time leader in total bases (6,856) and RBI (2,297).
Aaron’s final career stats can be viewed: HERE