Henry Aaron Everybody knows that Henry Aaron holds the record for the most career homeruns. But most of them probably do not know that he also holds the record for the most career Runs Batted In (RBIs) with 2297. The reason is that this record is not as glamorous. Well, not everything about Hank Aaron was glamorous. He had to overcome great odds and work very hard to get where he is today. Henry Louis Aaron was born on February 5, 1934. Ironically, Aaron was born one day before Babe Ruth’s birthday.
This was right in the middle of the Great Depression. Because of the fact that it was the Great Depression, his father was lucky to bring home seventy five to eighty dollars per week. His childhood was not luxurious. Something that he used to do for fun was to take his mother’s broom and some soda pop bottle caps and set up markers in the yard. If he hit the bottle caps to the first marker, he would give himself a single.
A hit to the second marker would be a double, etc. Aaron only played this game when there were no other children around. Hank Aaron’s first wife was Barbara Lucas from Jacksonville. They were divorced in December of 1970. On November 12, 1973, he married Billye Williams of Atlanta. Hank’s four children are Gaile, Hankie, Dorinda, and Ceci.
In 1950, Aaron went to play for the Mobile Black Bears for one day a week and ten dollars per game. In 1951 he attended the Brooklyn Dodgers tryout camp. Hank’s first professional baseball team was the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952. He played so well for them that Dewey Griggs, a Milwaukee Braves scout, came to watch him play. Griggs noticed that Aaron batted cross-handed. So he went to Aaron after the game and came to an agreement that if Aaron did well batting the right way, that he would switch. It turns out that he did great the next day, going three for three. Griggs was so impressed with Aaron that he invited him to the Braves’ Spring Training camp.
During the camp, the roster was determined and Aaron was not on it. However, being the type of person that he was, he stayed around just to practice with the team. It turns out that this was the best decision of his career because later that spring, the Braves’ left fielder broke his ankle. This opened a spot on the team. The next day, Aaron started in his place and got three hits, including a line-drive homerun.
Because of his success, the manager offered Aaron a contract to play for the Braves. By the end of the 1973 season, he had 713 career homeruns, one less than the all-time record. During the off-season, Aaron received a lot of hate mail and death threats, mostly from people who did not want to see a black man break Babe Ruth’s record. Aaron was quoted as saying, “As the hate mail piled up, I became more and more intent on breaking the record and shoving it into the ugly faces of those bigots” (Aaron). “On the night of April 8, 1974, at 9:07 PM, Henry Aaron hit a fastball off of Al Downing that flew over the left field fence for homerun number 715” (Aaron).
Aaron ended his career with 755 homeruns. He also played in 3298 games, batted 12,364 times, had 3771 hits, had a .305 batting average, and won three Gold Gloves. He led the National League in RBI’s four times, and in HR’s four times. He won the Rookie of the Year award in his first professional season. In 1975, he was given the Spingarn Medal, which is given out by the NAACP every year. It is like an achievement award.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 and his 715th homerun was recently voted the Greatest Moment in Baseball History. Although Henry Aaron was a great baseball player, he was also a hard worker. He had to overcome a lot of adversity to get where he is today. He was a black man that grew up in a poor neighborhood during the Great Depression. It was very tough.
How many people would continue to do something that they love even though other people threaten to kill them if they continue to do it? This is the kind of dedication and work ethic that Henry Aaron had. He would not give up just because that is what some idiot wanted. He truly was one of the greatest men of our time. Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY Aaron, Hank and Wheeler, Lonnie. I Had A Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story.
HarperCollins Publishers, 1991. Hank Aaron. CD-ROM. Microsoft Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls Corporation, 1996. Henry Aaron.
CD-ROM. World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1997. Rennert, Richard Scott. Henry Aaron. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1993. Tackach, James.
Hank Aaron. New York: James Charleton Associates, 1992. Sports and Games.