After honing his skills in the Negro American League with the Indianapolis Clowns, Henry Aaron was sold to the Boston Braves for $10,000. “The Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank” would go on to become one of the most feared sluggers and elite players in the history of the game. After arriving in the major leagues in 1954, “Bad Henry” would terrorize pitchers throughout the National League and put up some truly staggering numbers; first with the Milwaukee and then Atlanta Braves before finishing his 23-year career back in Milwaukee with the Brewers. He would lead the NL in home runs four times, hitting 30 or more homers fifteen times, and win NL batting titles in 1956 and 1959. A terrific right fielder, he would win 3 Gold Glove Awards and the 1957 MVP Award while helping the Braves win the National League pennant two consecutive years (1957-58) and the World Championship in 1957. In 1963, he missed winning the NL Triple Crown by .007 percentage points to Tommy Davis. In 1970, he became the first player to reach the milestones of both 3000 hits and 500 homeruns. He would go on to play in 21 consecutive All-Star games and a total of 25, while amassing 3771 hits and a .305 batting average. On April 8 1974, he would hit home run #715 surpassing Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king and would hold that record until 2006. At the time of his retirement in 1976, he would hold the career lifetime career records for home runs (755), RBIs (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477) and total bases with 6,856 and be among the leaders in many others.
His #44 was retired by both the Atlanta Braves (1977) and the Milwaukee Brewers (1976). There are statues erected to honor him outside of both Miller Park and Turner Field, which is located at 755 Hank Aaron Drive.
August 5, 2017