ESPN mourns the passing of Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball’s golden mark. He was 86.
He was a star with the 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).
On April 8, 1974 in Atlanta, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed career home run mark, slugging his record 715th off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing. In 2014, ESPN.com recreated the historic moment.
Aaron played 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. Aaron was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982.
Off the field, the Mobile, Ala., native was an activist for civil rights who endured hate mail and death threats even as he pursued Ruth’s home run mark. In 2017, he told ESPN’s The Undefeated why he was helping Historicially Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) via his Chasing The Dream foundation.
ESPN commentators, including some of whom worked with Aaron on ESPN telecasts such as the June 2018 tribute to him during a New York Mets-Atlanta Braves telecast, remember the American icon.
I am heartbroken to hear the passing of the legendary Hank Aaron. Hank was one of my heroes and role models. A true giant to the game and the world.
One of the greatest baseball players of all time. He paved the way for so many others. A true pioneer. pic.twitter.com/Ww7GI9dOWf
— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) January 22, 2021
RIP Hank! Thank you for showing us how to be better by doing better, both on and off the field. pic.twitter.com/KiFYLLDNyp
— Eduardo Perez (@PerezEd) January 22, 2021
“There will never be another Hank Aaron. He will never be forgotten as long as – forget baseball – as long as there is America, he will be remembered.”@Espngreeny honors the life, career and cultural impact of the legendary #HankAaron #Greeny | #MLB | #ESPNRadio pic.twitter.com/bwfA50PmLc
— ESPN Radio (@ESPNRadio) January 22, 2021
The #BBTNPod remembers the life and legacy of Hank Aaron. @Buster_ESPN is joined by @nlbmprez to share stories of his time spent with Aaron and the weight under which he played. Plus, @Kurkjian_ESPN & @PerezEd on their night in the booth with Aaron https://t.co/BuqKdHUXKx pic.twitter.com/oPaTzFcLNr
— ESPN Podcasts (@espnpodcasts) January 22, 2021
Without Hank Aaron there wouldn't be people like me. pic.twitter.com/nlIhMax2tV
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 22, 2021
This is really sad. To be around Hank was to be in the presence of a presence. He was as ferocious a competitor as he was a gentle human being. He spoke in simple, understandable terms having lived through an unspeakably complex life. When I think Home-run King-it’s Henry Aaron
— Karl Ravech (@karlravechespn) January 22, 2021
Honestly one of the greatest moments of my life getting to sit next to and hear the stories told by one of the best to ever play the game, and one of the best HUMANS I have ever met. #RIPHankAaron pic.twitter.com/qffc6pqccr
— Jessica Mendoza (@jessmendoza) January 22, 2021
Hank Aaron rose up from the depths of Southern poverty to become one of the towering figures in baseball history, as well a bittersweet symbol of both American racial intolerance and triumph.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2021
— Rob Gardiner (@CoachRob_G) January 22, 2021