Hank Aaron – 1934 – 2021 – Icon, Legend And Homerun King –
Hank Aaron – Play by play – April 8, 1975 – WSB Atlanta – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
A legend is gone – Hank Aaron; homerun King, icon and legend, passed quietly away in his sleep overnight – he was 86.
One of the sport’s great stars despite playing for the small-market Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves throughout a major league career that spanned from 1954 to 1976, Aaron still holds major league records for RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477), and he ranks among MLB’s best in hits (3,771, third all time), games played (3,298, third) and runs scored (2,174, fourth).
A 6-foot, 180-pounder, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed home run mark on April 8, 1974, slugging his record 715th off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning as 50,000-plus fans celebrated in Atlanta. In one of baseball’s iconic moments, Aaron trotted around the basepaths — despite briefly being interrupted by two fans — and ultimately touched home plate, where teammates hoisted him, his parents embraced him and he was interviewed by a young Craig Sager.
Aaron went on to play two more seasons and finished with 755 career home runs, a mark that stood as the major league record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007.
A word or two from Wikipedia:
Aaron is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His 755 career home runs, which broke the long-standing career record of Babe Ruth, stood as the MLB record for 33 years, and he still holds many other offensive MLB records. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and he is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players”. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Aaron was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama. Aaron had seven siblings, including Tommie Aaron, who played major-league baseball with him. He appeared briefly in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career. By his final MLB season, Aaron was the last Negro league baseball player on a major league roster.
Aaron played the vast majority of his MLB games in right field, though he appeared at several other infield and outfield positions. In his last two seasons, he was primarily a designated hitter. Aaron was an NL All-Star for 20 seasons and an AL All-Star for 1 season, and he holds the record for the most All-Star selections, while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron is in second place in home runs (755) and at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game’s key career power hitting records.
As a reminder of that magic moment in 1974, here is the play-by-play as it happened on April 8, 1974 as heard all over the country.