Hammerin’ Hank Has Gone Home

There are times in life when you feel as though you know people without ever having met them. Stuart Scott, Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman and others are some to name a few. The individuals listed were larger than life figures in each of their respective fields. The same is said about Henry Louis Aaron, Sr. Aaron passed the morning of January 22nd at 86 years young.

The baseball prowess, home run hitting records and his fielding exploits are numerous and the stories are endless. But Hank, the man, came from humble beginnings from the deep south in the City of Mobile, AL. Growing up in a day and age when racism, social injustice and inequality were at a fever-pitched, Aaron remained undeterred in the pursuit of his dreams to make it to the highest level of baseball.

Hammerin’ Hank’s on the field accomplishments will forever remain some of the greatest in the history of not just baseball, but in all of sports. The unbreakable record of 714 career home runs, he crushed. Amid death threats for him and his family, Aaron stared directly in the face of these inequities and did what he did best…bash baseballs. And who can forget that iconic day in history in Atlanta, of all places, when the record-breaking home run sailed over the left-center field fence. There he was rounding the bases with two white guys flanking him on either side while congratulating him on the feat. It is one of the most celebrated celebratory moments in history.

Aaron’s impact has been felt far more off the baseball diamond. As an advocate for equality, Hank displayed humility and self-discipline help to create initiatives for a fairer and more equal America. Upon retiring from the Majors in 1976, his footprints and fingerprints remained on the game he loved so very much. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 after receiving 97% of the vote. (Side note: Who does not vote 100% for the All-Time HR King?). He received what is arguably the most prestigious award of his life when former President George W. Bush awarded Aaron the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. This award encompassed who Aaron was a man, a baseball player and someone who just wanted to make the world a better place. In the midst of the pandemic and growing mistrust of African Americans of the Covid-19 vaccine, there Hank was, out front getting the shot to soothe the fears of the skeptics.

“I’m hoping someday that some kid, black or white, will hit more home runs than myself. Whoever it is, I’d be pulling for him.” Hank Aaron

Get your rest, Hammer. You were truly one of the greats.

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