Hank Aaron Leaves Legacy For Future Generations

Hank+Aaron

Melvin Harris, theSCORE Lead Reporter

Hank Aaron broke records and barriers in a time where African-American athletes were looked down upon. 

Aaron earned the nickname “Hammerin’ Hank” after passing Babe Ruth with the most home runs in MLB history with 755 in 1974. Aaron also holds the record for most career RBIs (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856).  However, Aaron had to start elsewhere to get to where he finished.

Aaron was born at the height of Jim Crow in Mobile, Alabama. The young baseball player caught the eyes of scouts early, and the rest is history.

Aaron started his baseball career in the Negro Leagues for the Indianapolis Clowns. Aaron’s presence made the major league a safe place for future African-American baseball players such as Dusty Baker, Ken Griffey Sr. and Joe Morgan. 

President Joe Biden knew the impact the right fielder had in the country. Biden spoke on how his character overshadowed his play.

With courage and dignity, he eclipsed the most hallowed record in sports while absorbing vengeance that would have broken most people,” Biden said.

Aaron played during a time where Black athletes did not receive as much support as they do now. The little support Aaron did receive was more than appreciated. Black athletes were always challenged more than supported, that is why Aaron gave so much help to his peers. 

Aaron was more than a heavy hitter. The first baseman made his impact known off the field as well. Former President Barack Obama spoke highly of the Hall of Famer.

“He never missed an opportunity to lead,” Obama said. “Whenever Michelle and I spent time with Hank and his wife Billye, we were struck by their kindness, generosity, and grace—and were reminded that we stood on the shoulders of a previous generation of trailblazers” Obama concluded.

In his final days, Aaron along with other Civil Rights leaders pushed for the Covid-19 vaccine. He wanted to spread hope and a better word for the African-American community that the vaccine was safe during the middle of a pandemic. 

Aaron was not hesitant about speaking out on the issues going on in the world. Whether it was lamenting the lack of Black representation in management positions or racist threats to him and other black athletes, he let his voice be heard.

Aaron was one of the first black men to be in a senior management position in the MLB.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred knew Aaron well. Manfred believed Aaron left his mark on the field and the world. 

“His monumental achievements as a player were surpassed only by his dignity and integrity as a person,” Manfred said. 

Aaron did not run from racism while playing in the deep south, he faced it head on. He showed the country to be fearless in a time where most people lived in fear.

It’s safe to say that Aaron has inspired generations to come who will continue his legacy.