Player Spotlight – Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron was one of the greatest power hitters in the history of baseball. He is credited with having 755 home runs during his career, Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth’s nearly 40-year record. Here’s a look at the life and career of this Hall of Fame baseball player:

Hank Aaron’s Early Life

Henry Louis Aaron was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama. He grew up among seven children in both poverty and segregation. His family was so poor that he could not afford baseball equipment and instead had to use sticks and bottle caps. His high school also had no organized baseball team. However, he did play semi-pro baseball for a local Negro team as a teenager.

Hank Aaron’s Professional Career

In 1951, after Aaron briefly played for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, the then Boston Braves purchased his contract and he spent the next 3 years in the minor leagues. On April 13, 1954, Aaron made his major league debut while playing for the Braves after the team moved to Milwaukee. He had a relatively uneventful rookie year, with only 13 home runs.

Aaron had his breakout season the following year when he hit 27 home runs and 106 RBIs, along with a .307 batting average. During that year, he was named to the All-Star Game, which would be the first of a record 25 selections. The next year, Aaron would win his first batting title and was named The Sporting News NL Player of the Year.

Aaron had one of his best years in 1957. He not only was named the NL MVP but also almost won the triple crown, after leading the league in home runs and RBIs and coming fourth in batting average . He further led the Braves to the pennant with a walk-off home run in the title-clinching game, and he afterward led the team to a World Series championship by beating the New York Yankees.

Hank Aaron Was Consistent

One of the things Hank Aaron was known for is that he was a consistent player. He hit at least 24 home runs every season from 1955-1973 (he hit 20 in 1974 and 12 in 1975) and he is only one of two players to ever hit 30 or more home runs in 15 seasons. Aaron also hit for average, hitting .305 for his career, with 3,771 hits, which is third all-time. He was further an excellent fielder, winning the Gold Glove 3 times during his career.

The milestone of Aaron’s career came on April 8, 1974, when he broke Babe Ruth’s “unbreakable” record of 714 home runs.

Aaron retired in 1976, and he joined the Atlanta Braves as an executive, where still serves today. In 1982, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, with his name appearing on 97.8% of the ballots, which at the time was the second highest percentage of all time.

Hank Aaron is considered to be the greatest home run hitter of all time, as well as one of the best all-around players.

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