The Last Home Run of ‘Hammerin Hank’
By Kurtis Alston
Hank Aaron played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball and is second in home-run hits with 755. “Hammerin Hank” debuted with the Milwaukee Braves at 20-years-old in 1954; he would spend 21 seasons in a Braves uniform. He has a record of 20 seasons of 20 or more homers and hit home runs off 310 different pitchers; of those pitchers 13 are Hall of Famers. When he finally ran his last lap around the diamond he held major- league career records in extra-base hits (1,447), total bases (6,865), and RBI (2,297); the last two records he still holds to this day.
Aaron has numerous accolades. He collected 3,000 hits and he would have still collected those amounts of hits without the home runs. He finished his career with 3,771 hits, batting .305 and winning two batting titles. When he hit his 3,000th ball on May 17, 1970, he was the first player in history to join the 3,000th hit and 500 home run clubs.
Aaron won National League MVP in 1957 and helped Milwaukee win the World Series in that same season. This was the franchise’s second, of their three World Series titles. On top of that achievement, he was nominated to be an All-Star, a record-breaking 25 times and also won three Gold Gloves and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Aaron was nine votes short of being the first player to be a unanimous inductee.
After his baseball career, he kept surrounding himself with the game. He worked in the Braves front office and although he wasn’t running around the diamond and giving the fans excitement by breaking records, he still gave back to society. In 1995, he started Chasing the Dream Foundation to help children between the ages of nine and 12 realize their dreams.
In February 2003, Aaron received the first Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Legacy Award from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum honoring, his “career excellence in the face of adversity.” Philanthropist Muhammad Ali said Aaron was “the only man I idolize more than myself.” Sadly, Hank Aaron took his last lap on January 22, 2021. He left his wife Billye and their children, Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda, and Ceci, and their grandchildren to grieve his death.