Some additional perspective and emphasis:

He secured of one of the most cherished records in all of sports - hit 755 home runs during regular season games of Major League Baseball.

Henry Louis Aaron - known as "Hank" and "The Hammer" - was born in Mobile, Alabama 2/5/34. He played 1954-1974 with Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and 1975-1976 with Milwaukee Brewers. He played in twenty-one1 All Star Games - consecutively - and two World Series. His lifetime batting average was .305

Along the way to the home run record, on 4/8/74 he hit home run number 715 to eclipse the record held by Babe Ruth2, which for decades was argued to be "unbreakable3." Aaron's reception into the annals of history was marred by disdain from a number of "purists" who didn't take well to such a momentous achievement by a Negro, Aaron. Aaron received numerous serious and specific death threats when it became apparent that he was about to claim the arguably most prestigious record in the sport.4

Though he is a modest and soft-spoken man, Aaron has been known to say that the home run record was overemphasized, calling attention to other records such as most runs batted in (which is strategically more important to winning baseball games) and second most intentional bases-on-balls pitched to. Indeed, the list of records with his name is quite grand5. Furthermore, he had the rare combination of power and speed6. Tragically forgotten was his defensive prowess in the outfield, combining coverage speed and a rocket throwing arm.7

The impact of racism can not be overstated in Aaron's rightful place on the throne of the sport. After his playing career ended Aaron remained highly inconspicuous instead of basking in greatness, a la, e.g., Dimaggio. When baseball pundits reel off lists of the hitting "greats" they can make a long list like "Cobb...Ruth...Ted Williams...Mays...Mantle..."(of course you could go on) - yet Aaron's name is shockingly absent from most such discussions.

Aaron quietly remained in Atlanta after his playing career. In 2003 he still holds an office position in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Please don't waste your time dwelling on the P.C.-ness of the word "Negro." For this discussion and its historical timing and context, it is the correct historical term.


1. At least two Internet sources state 24 All-Star game performances, including Pretty poor, fellas. Aaron's major league career spanned 23 years, and he was absent from the summer classic in his rookie and final seasons. (Still, the accomplishment - appearing in all 21 other seasons of his career - is breathtaking.)

2. Though the recordkeeping has been disputed, Negro Leagues player Josh Gibson reputedly hit "almost 800" home runs(1930-1946), according to his plaque at the Hall Of Fame.

3. The "unbreakable" list of baseball records was formed in 1973. Of course it was inspired by Aaron's march to the all time home run title, which he claimed in 1974.

4. Negroes were forbidden to play major league baseball until an exciting player named Jackie Robinson "broke the color barrier" in 1947. Aaron himself broke in with the Negro Leagues' Indianapolis Clowns in 1951.

5. All time most major league career home runs, extra base hits, total bases, runs batted in; 2nd most career intentional walks received; 3rd in hits and in runs and sac. flies (and the list goes on and on).

Most striking was his consistency. He never came close to any of baseball's individual season league records. His highest season home run performance was 47. He did lead the league in homers four times, and in total bases nine times; among other highest season marks he led twice in batting average and was in the top 10 for stolen bases in eight seasons. Naturally, he holds nearly all team batting records for the Atlanta Braves and most for the Milwaukee Braves. - a01.shtml

With Eddie Mathews set the record for most career homers by teammates, 863.

6. Years before Pete Rose's wondrous displays of hustle, Aaron had an annoying (to the opponent) habit of charging around first base and sprinting to second base after striking what appeared to be a routine single. In the typical scenario there was a nonchalant toss from an outfielder to the shortstop in short outfield, followed by a panicked relay to the base, by which time Aaron had flown safely into second.

7. Aaron was relegated to the right field position, which typically has the fewest number of defensive plays. Who knows why. Aaron's defensive skills have never been brought into question - he won Golden Glove awards for 3 straight years.