Hank Aaron: The Forgotten King Of Swing

BIG MContributor IMarch 3, 2009


When you watch Sportscenter, you hear legendary names all the time like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, and Jackie Robinson, to name a few.

The one man you rarely hear about is the man who at one time was known as "The Home Run King."

Number 44, "Hammering" Hank Aaron is a forgotten man despite the man who dethroned Babe Ruth as the all-time Home Run King.

Aaron started his career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and ended in 1976 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He also played in Atlanta when the Milwaukee Braves moved in 1965.

Aaron will always be remembered for his historic quest to become the "Home Run King," but off-the-field, Hank had a harder and more challenging battle.

Around the time Aaron was getting closer and closer to Ruth's record, he was receiving death threats. Not only for himself, but for his family as well. People were judging Aaron solely on the color of his skin.

Aaron prevailed and on April 8, 1974, with 53,775 in attendance at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, he hit 715 off of pitcher Al Downing to break the home run record.

After a 23-year career, at the age of 42, Hank Aaron retired.

He is still around baseball, as he works for the Atlanta Braves. He also helps Major League Baseball bring more minority players to the game.

In 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into baseball's Hall Of Fame. He was a first ballot Hall-of-Famer and his 97.83 percent selection score was the second highest ever, behind only Ty Cobb.

On Feb. 5, 1999, Major League Baseball named an award after Aaron.

The Hank Aaron Award is given to the best offensive performer in the AL and NL. Later that same year, Aaron was also named by Sporting News as the fifth greatest player of all-time.

"The Hammer" finished his career with a batting average of .305, 755 home runs, 3,771 hits, and 2,297 RBI. He is also a 25-time All Star, three-time Gold Glove Winner, World Series Champ (1957 with the Milwaukee Braves), and the 1957 MVP.

He holds MLB records for 6,856 total bases, 2,297 RBI, 1,477 extra base hits, and 17 consecutive seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron was also the first player ever to hit 500 home runs and have 3,000 hits.

In today's game, when all you hear about is "How much money can we make?" and "Who is taking steroids?" it is sad to know that there will never be another player like Hank Aaron.