January 23, 2021
His name is all over the baseball record book and, indeed, Hank Aaron who died on January 22 could do it all. The Atlanta Braves, Aaron's longtime team, said he died in his sleep. No cause was given.
The Hammer set a wide array of career hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases.
But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others, the one that made him baseball's home-run king on April 8, 1974.
It was a title he would hold for more than 33 years, a period in which Aaron slowly but surely claimed his rightful place as one of America's most iconic sporting figures, a true national treasure worthy of mention in the same breath with Ruth or Ali or Jordan.
Sure, he's remembered mostly for dethroning the Babe to become baseball's home run king on the way to 755, but don't forget about the .300 average, or the graceful way he fielded his position, or the deceiving speed he showed on the basepaths.
Aaron's career total was surpassed by Barry Bonds in 2007 -- though many continued to call the Hammer the true home run king because of allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds finished his career with 762. Aaron never begrudged someone -- not even a tarnished star -- eclipsing his mark.
Riccardo Fraccari, President of World Baseball and Softball Confederation commented: "The baseball has lost one of the most important figures and greatest human beings in the history of baseball.”
Aaron helped the Japanese Homerun King Sadaharu OH （80）, to initiate the World Children’s Baseball Fair (WCBF) to promote baseball targeting boys and girls of ten or eleven years. OH issued statement via SoftBank Baseball organization by thanking him for his contribution to WCBF and remembering him as a true gentleman.
(Photo: Sadaharu OH and Hank AARON at the WBC in San Diego in 2006)