Forty years ago today, baseball’s most heralded record was broken. The iconic George Herman “Babe” Ruth’s seemingly insurmountable mark of 714 career home runs was surpassed by legendary Atlanta Braves slugger Hank Aaron.
The day was April 8, 1974. The time was at 9:07 p.m. ET. The location was Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.
Tonight beginning at 7:15 p.m., ESPN.com readers and Major League Baseball fans can relive history. ESPN.com will present Aaron’s 715: Live in 2014 – a project featuring real-time “coverage” of the events leading up to – and through – Aaron’s historic achievement.
David Kull, ESPN.com senior deputy editor, is the brains behind the operation.
“I was inspired by something Boston.com had done,” Kull said. “They had reenacted the events leading up to – and through – the JFK assassination and I thought this could be done with a historic event in baseball. It just had to be the right moment and this year being the 40th anniversary, I thought it would be perfect.”
The reenactment will take place through a live-event application on ESPN.com’s MLB page. It will include actual photos, videos and news reports from Aaron’s record-breaking day. One key component of the project will be ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark, who will serve as the “on site” reporter, contributing updates and stats throughout the “game” between the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“The goal is to take you back 40 years and cover the event as if it were happening today,” Kull said. “We’re telling a story of historical significance in a different way and we’re trying to do something that’s never been done before.
“We corresponded with Bob Hope, then-Atlanta Braves public relations director, on this project, and he helped considerably with several little-known details and with the sequence of events,” he said. “We’ll incorporate a few letters that were written to Aaron, including some of the hate-mail he received. Aaron’s 715: Live in 2014 is a snapshot of America at the time.”
To round out the project, ESPN senior writer Howard Bryant, who authored “The Last Hero: A Life of Hank Aaron,” will host a live chat during the Aaron’s 715 event. Additionally, fans can join the conversation on Twitter by using hashtag #Aaron715.