Hank Aaron has passed away

Mugsy's Jock

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Always seemed like he really had his shit together, with grace, sensitivity and intelligence. RIP Hammer.

So what's the list in the last few months now? Gibson, Morgan, Sutton, Lasorda, Niekro, Brock, Seaver, Kaline, Ford and Aaron? That's 9 + a manager. Glad I was never really good at baseball.

Four pairs of teammates in there: Brock/Gibson, Lasorda/Sutton, Niekro/Aaron and Seaver/Morgan. Does Ford or Kaline have a living HOF teammate?
 
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PseuFighter

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Awful to hear. It does feel like lots of athletes/celebrities of that era have been passing lately. :(
 

Captaincoop

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Seemed like an incredibly classy and humble guy.

I'm not sure if it was in Ken Burns' Baseball or somewhere else, but hearing about the vile abuse he took (death threats, awful racist letters, etc.) when he was threatening Babe Ruth's record was heartbreaking. He had an absolutely incredible career and although he played on a lot of good-but-not-great teams when all that earned you was an early vacation, he did absolutely put it on the Yankees in the 1957 World Series.
 

canderson

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Too young to have watched him play live, but loved watching old games with him. One of the best ever and a remarkable man to boot. Baseball lost a great one.
 

jezza1918

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Seemed like an incredibly classy and humble guy.

I'm not sure if it was in Ken Burns' Baseball or somewhere else, but hearing about the vile abuse he took (death threats, awful racist letters, etc.) when he was threatening Babe Ruth's record was heartbreaking. He had an absolutely incredible career and although he played on a lot of good-but-not-great teams when all that earned you was an early vacation, he did absolutely put it on the Yankees in the 1957 World Series.
A small humblebrag but to your point...in the summer of 2005 I was an intern for the Mobile BayBears (who played at Hank Aaron Stadium) & we hosted the Southern League All-Star Game that year. Hank was a special guest and for reasons still unknown to me I was picked to drive him around on a couple of errands. He sat in the front seat of my Jetta and asked me tons of questions about who I was...pointed out spots in the city that meant a lot to him...and bought me a krispy kreme donut to boot. What could've been a nerve wracking 90 minutes he quickly made it seem like I was hanging out with my grandfather.
 
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santadevil

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That's a tough one.

I bet Bonds stays on life support until he's 87.
Nice one

This sucks. I never got to watch him play, but always knew he was the home run king when I was growing up
Hank Aaron's name always felt like it was given such reverence when people spoke of him

Learning more about him as I grew up, he seemed like an amazing guy
RIP Hammerin' Hank
 

loshjott

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Here's Hank homering off Bill Lee at Fenway in 1975:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgWBIfvDonI
Yes, thanks for sharing that. A bygone era in baseball (not so long ago) when legends could go their entire careers and never play in the storied parks in the opposite league.

I was 8-9 years old and a Red Sox fan in 1973-74. My parents subscribed to Life Magazine and I remember seeing an article about Aaron in the offseason before he broke the record, talking about the racism he was facing and what a huge deal it was for a Black man to be on the verge of passing the Babe. I didn't understand racism much at the time and his story during those months leading up to him breaking the record was one of my first introductions. Also, if my memory is correct that game was nationally televised and I watched it.
 

DJnVa

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Man, that sucks.

I met him years ago at a baseball camp (he actually critiqued my swing). His "755" is a number that lives on with no explanation needed.

Godspeed Hank.
 

E5 Yaz

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It's funny how certain events create such clear memories. You rarely saw an out of market baseball game on TV, but this was a Monday nighter special. We were in the high school auditorium, at a play rehearsal, and we went into a classroom, moved the TV onto the stage top stop and watch. It was something we just had to see.

Listening to Dan Patrick Show just now and they mentioned the Dale Murphy idea that the Braves should change their name to the Atlanta Hammers. Even the stupid chop would still work
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Underrated career stat - retired with the 2nd-most hits ever, and is still 3rd, at 3771.
I didn’t realize this until I saw he had passed and went to his bbref page. Obviously second in hr and third in hits as you said. Also first in rbi, second in runs, first in total bases, fourth in bbref war (position players only). And sounds like he was an incredible person to top it off. RIP
 

InsideTheParker

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A small humblebrag but to your point...in the summer of 2005 I was an intern for the Mobile BayBears (who played at Hank Aaron Stadium) & we hosted the Southern League All-Star Game that year. Hank was a special guest and for reasons still unknown to me I was picked to drive him around on a couple of errands. He sat in the front seat of my Jetta and asked me tons of questions about who I was...pointed out spots in the city that meant a lot to him...and bought me a krispy kreme donut today. What could've been a nerve wracking 90 minutes he quickly made it seem like I was hanging out with my grandfather.
Nice story. Not a humblebrag. I like hearing about "celebrities" who don't think they are minigods.
P.S. Speaking of his history experiencing racism, I wonder if he was happy to hear of the GA Senate results, Biden win, etc.
 

Kliq

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Loved Henry Aaron. Obviously I'm way too young to have ever watched him play; but he was probably my favorite retired athlete growing up. We had an old NES game called "Legends of the Game" and Aaron was in it and he had the most home runs (even more than Babe Ruth!) so therefore he was the best player ever in my 8 year old mind. Read some junior biographies on him as a kid, and then "The Last Hero" by Howard Bryant which is one of the best sports books you will ever read and everyone on SoSH should read it.

Aaron never really thought of himself as a power hitter; he always aimed to win the batting title and considered Stan Musial his greatest rival. The two batting titles he did win were almost as treasured as the all time home run record. He considered batting average to be the true measure of a hitter, and the home runs merely came as a symptom of making consistent contact. He had a unique cross-wrist grip on the bat, which probably would be hammered out of a player if he came up today; but Aaron was known as a professional for his remarkable wrist strength, which were attributed to giving him his incredible hitting power because he was a very average sized ballplayer.

He never liked to be called Hank, which was a name that was given to him by sportswriters. He always went by Henry among people who actually knew him.

Aaron, Willie McCovey and Billy Williams all came out of the same area of Mobile, Alabama right around the same time period. That is 1,702 home runs between the three of them.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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A small humblebrag but to your point...in the summer of 2005 I was an intern for the Mobile BayBears (who played at Hank Aaron Stadium) & we hosted the Southern League All-Star Game that year. Hank was a special guest and for reasons still unknown to me I was picked to drive him around on a couple of errands. He sat in the front seat of my Jetta and asked me tons of questions about who I was...pointed out spots in the city that meant a lot to him...and bought me a krispy kreme donut today. What could've been a nerve wracking 90 minutes he quickly made it seem like I was hanging out with my grandfather.
That's a great story, and confirmed the sense I had about Hank as well.

Is he the most consistent baseball player (prior to the "PED era") of all time? I absolutely marvel at his late career stats. Hit 245 career HRs from age 35 on. For comparison, David Ortiz with the luxury of being a full-time DH, hit 192 HRs age 35 on. Had a league leading OPS+ of 194 at age 37 and OPS+ of 177 at age 39!
 

terrynever

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In the 1960s, Black players were at what seemed like their numerical peak. Baseball was still No. 1 in Black communities, probably because of the Negro Leagues’ carryover effect. When Dick Allen came to Philly in 1964, he reminded people of a young Henry Aaron. By then, Hank was acknowledged as the toughest out in baseball, mostly because those wrists of his allowed him to wait a split-second longer than any other hitter. He started chasing 714 around 1970 when Mays slowed down. Up until then, he was just a line drive hitter. Mays, Mantle, Killebrew, Frank Robinson were the home run heroes. By 1970, Hank was no longer the lithe whippet who ranked with Clemente as the best two right fielders in baseball at the time. Has there ever been two better players in RF?
I still think the 1960s were the best years, best decade, for baseball, even if some franchises were still trying to keep their rosters mostly white. We never had more great Black players then in the 60s and maybe the 70s.
Henry Aaron took on the racist world when he drew close to the Babe. He was playing in the most southern of franchises at the time. The threats were real and when those two White kids came charging after him on his 715th tour of the bases, who knew what they were up to? But they were just happy to be close to Henry Aaron. He lifted the sport with his grace.
 

The Filthy One

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There are two baseball photos in my son’s room, both of which my father took at Fenway in (I believe) 1978: one is of Rice and Yaz in the on deck/hole area and the other is of Hank Aaron, in a Brewers uniform. All his life my son has heard me talk about the “home run king.” RIP Hammerin Hank.
 

Marbleheader

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Tremendous loss, not many celebrity/athlete deaths hit me as a gut punch, especially those that played before my time, but this one hurts.
 

E5 Yaz

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Henry Aaron took on the racist world when he drew close to the Babe. He was playing in the most southern of franchises at the time. The threats were real and when those two White kids came charging after him on his 715th tour of the bases, who knew what they were up to? But they were just happy to be close to Henry Aaron.
Snipers on the roof of Fulton County Stadium that night to protect him ... amazing they didn't take those kids out
 

loshjott

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Loved Henry Aaron. Obviously I'm way too young to have ever watched him play; but he was probably my favorite retired athlete growing up. We had an old NES game called "Legends of the Game" and Aaron was in it and he had the most home runs (even more than Babe Ruth!) so therefore he was the best player ever in my 8 year old mind. Read some junior biographies on him as a kid, and then "The Last Hero" by Howard Bryant which is one of the best sports books you will ever read and everyone on SoSH should read it.

Aaron never really thought of himself as a power hitter; he always aimed to win the batting title and considered Stan Musial his greatest rival. The two batting titles he did win were almost as treasured as the all time home run record. He considered batting average to be the true measure of a hitter, and the home runs merely came as a symptom of making consistent contact. He had a unique cross-wrist grip on the bat, which probably would be hammered out of a player if he came up today; but Aaron was known as a professional for his remarkable wrist strength, which were attributed to giving him his incredible hitting power because he was a very average sized ballplayer.

He never liked to be called Hank, which was a name that was given to him by sportswriters. He always went by Henry among people who actually knew him.

Aaron, Willie McCovey and Billy Williams all came out of the same area of Mobile, Alabama right around the same time period. That is 1,702 home runs between the three of them.
I did not know that he preferred Henry to Hank. Maybe change the thread title?
 

SoxJox

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Does Ford or Kaline have a living HOF teammate?
According to this article,

Ford’s death leaves Bobby Brown, who won four Series titles with the Yankees in the 1940s and ’50s, as the last living link to prominent Yankees who played with both DiMaggio and Ford. Brown is 95.
Kaline missed by a few years having teammate Jim Bunning (passed in 2017) still around. Only other teammate (on the 1959 team) in the HOF was Larry Doby, who passed in 2003.
 
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Bergs

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RIP to a legend. Also the answer to one of my favorite trivia questions: Who was the last Negro League veteran to play a game in MLB?
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Vin Scully calls it, Buckner climbs the fence, House catches it

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjqYThEVoSQ
I won a portable AM radio from Magnavox for correctly guessing what inning he would hit the tie-breaking HR in.

Yes, I submitted 10 entries.

There was a time about 15 years ago (?) when he would sign anything you sent to his office if you made a donation to his charity supporting youth baseball in inner cities.
 

h8mfy

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Did anyone else ever try to hit cross-handed as a kid, just to be like him?

It wasn't too hard to convince my mom to let me stay up for that Monday night game, and I still remember it vividly.

Godspeed to an American hero.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I fell asleep after his first at bat and my dad woke me up for the second at bat. Not sure if he would have kept it up all night, but Hank didn't make us wait at all.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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Seemed like an incredibly classy and humble guy.

I'm not sure if it was in Ken Burns' Baseball or somewhere else, but hearing about the vile abuse he took (death threats, awful racist letters, etc.) when he was threatening Babe Ruth's record was heartbreaking. He had an absolutely incredible career and although he played on a lot of good-but-not-great teams when all that earned you was an early vacation, he did absolutely put it on the Yankees in the 1957 World Series.
Yes. Baseball really is a microcosm of the American experience, the incredible highs and lows, and Hank Aaron experienced the entire range. A true icon.
 

joe dokes

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It's funny how certain events create such clear memories. You rarely saw an out of market baseball game on TV, but this was a Monday nighter special. We were in the high school auditorium, at a play rehearsal, and we went into a classroom, moved the TV onto the stage top stop and watch. It was something we just had to see.
I watched the 715 at home. But what I remember almost as vividly was a random NBC Saturday game of the week (Gowdy and Kubek, probably) when, at 41, he homered off prime Nolan Ryan in his return to Milwaukee year ('75).
 

Ale Xander

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Has anyone else received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the Rising Sun?
 

edoug

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RIP, he was even a better man than ballplayer. Plus, IMO, very underrated. The true HR King.
 
As our resident Atlanta fan, I wish I had more to say about Aaron, but I was born literally the day after he hit #715, so I obviously have no memories of him as a player. But he was clearly a class act off the field and could not have been a better ambassador for the Braves and for baseball more generally. RIP indeed.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Hey, I had to... apologies for crossing the streams: