Hank Aaron smashed baseballs — and he smashed racial barriers. The Atlanta Braves legend and American icon died Friday at the age of 86.
Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record in 1974 — a once-unimaginable baseball feat — and held the record for more than three decades.
“Those moments that I had back then taught me a lesson,” Aaron once told GPB. “No matter what you take for granted, you try to do the very best you could to be sure that you made things worthwhile.”
He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2006: “I would just want to be remembered as somebody who just tried to be fair with people.”
Boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said this of Aaron: “The only man I idolize more than myself.”
As news of Aaron’s death spread, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, “This is a considerable loss for the entire city of Atlanta. While the world knew him as ‘Hammering Hank Aaron’ because of his incredible, record-setting baseball career, he was a cornerstone of our village, graciously and freely joining Mrs. Aaron in giving their presence and resources toward making our city a better place.”
Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted, “Heartbreaking news. Hank Aaron was an American icon and a Georgia legend.”
This story comes to The Georgia Sun through a reporting partnership with GA Today, a non-profit newsroom focused on reporting in Georgia.