This Day in Black History: Former Major League Baseball player Hank Aaron was born

Former Major League Baseball Player Hank Aaron

HOUSTON — Former Major League Baseball Player Henry Louis Aaron, or Hank Aaron, was born on Feb. 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama.

Aaron always loved the game of baseball at an early age. While a junior in high school, Aaron played for the Mobile Black Bears, an independent African-American league baseball team, as a shortstop.

In 1951, Aaron played for the Negro American League’s Indianapolis Clowns as a shortstop. Three months later, Aaron received offers from the New York Giants and Boston Braves. He decided to play for the Braves.

In 1952, Aaron was assigned to the Eau Claire Bears—the Boston Braves’ Northern League Class-C farm team— and was eventually promoted to the Northern League’s All-Star team. At the end of the season, Aaron was honored as Rookie of the Year after scoring 89 runs, 116 hits, nine home runs and 61 runs batted in, and a .336 batting average.

In 1953, the Boston Braves promoted Aaron to the Jacksonville Braves– Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League—and honored him as the league’s Most Valuable Player.

In 1974, while playing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Aaron broke Major League Baseball Player Babe Ruth’s home run record. Ruth ended his career with 714 home runs and Aaron scored 715 home runs.

In 1976, Aaron hit his last home run – 755th – at the Milwaukee County Stadium against the California Angels.

Although Aaron retired from playing the game of baseball, he still managed to be a part of the team. In 1976, Aaron rejoined the Boston Braves as an executive, and in 1982, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After his baseball career, Aaron was honored with awards and recognition for his passion for America’s Favorite Pastime:

In 1999, MLB created the Hank Aaron Award

In July 2000 and July 2002, Aaron threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game

In 2001, Hank Aaron was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton

In 2002, Aaron was honored with the “Lombardi Award of Excellence” from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation

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