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They Played
the Game
HENRY (HANK) AARON

Nickname: "The Hammer"
Born: February 5, 1934 (Mobile, AL)
ML Debut: April 13, 1954.
Final Game: October 3, 1976.
Bats: Right        Throws: Right
6'  180
Hall of Fame: 1982 (Baseball Writers; 406 votes on 415ballots; 97.83%)
Played for Milwaukee Braves (1954-1965), Atlanta Braves (1966-1974), Milwaukee Brewers (1975-1976)
Postseason: 1957 World Series, 1958 World Series
All Star 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975.
NL MVP 1957
Gold Glove 1958, 1959, 1960
Henry (Hank) Aaron was 18 years old when he began his professional baseball career as a shortstop for the Negro League's Indianapolis Clowns. Though he was slight of build (160 lbs.) and hit cross-handed, his contract was purchased by the Boston Braves f0r $10,000 in June 1952. He would be the last Negro Leaguer to jump to the majors. Aaron spent a couple of years in the minors before starting for the Braves -- now in Milwaukee -- in left field, replacing the injured Bobby Thompson. While in the minors, with the Jacksonville Tars, he was the South Atlantic League's MVP with a .362 batting average and 115 RBIs, and the following season was the Northern League's Rookie of the Year. In his first season with the Braves, Aaron compiled a .280 average with 13 home runs before breaking his ankle in September. By 1958 he had increased his weight by twenty pounds and was a legitimate power hitter. That year he was league MVP with 44 homers and 132 ribbies. The Braves beat the Yankees in a seven-game world series in which Aaron hit .393 with three homers and seven RBIs.
In twenty seasons -- 1955 through 1974 (during which time the Braves moved to Atlanta) -- Aaron hit 20 or more home runs every year, with 30 or more in fifteen of the seasons, and 40 or more in eight. His best home run season was 1971, when he hit 47. He batted over .300 fourteen times. (His best season batting average was .355 in 1959.) As the 1974 season opened, Aaron had accumulated 713 homers -- one short of Babe Ruth's record. The Braves intended to keep him benched during the opening series at Cincinnati so that he could break Babe's record in front of a home crowd. But Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered the club to use Aaron in Cincinnati. He tied the record on his first trip to the plate. In his first home game of the season, on April 8, Aaron hit his 715th homer off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. During his career Aaron appeared in a record-tying 24 All Star Game. (Stan Musial and Willie Mays also appeared in 24.)
In 1975 Aaron returned to Milwaukee and the city's new club, the Brewers. He played two more years before retiring. He held the ML records for extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,858) and RBIs (2,297). Aaron later went to work in the Atlanta Braves' front office and became vice-president in charge of player development.
-- Jason Manning
"The best thing you can say about him is when you walk on the field and you are playing against Hank Aaron you know you're in the big leagues." -- Pete Rose

"Trying to sneak a pitch past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak a sunrise past a rooster."
-- Joe Adcock (or Curt Simmons)

"Hank never showed any emotion. The most he would do was clear his throat every once in a while. He was fantastic. He was the best line drive hitter I ever saw. He could have been a .400 hitter if he didn't try to beat Eddie [Mathews] in homers. There was definite competition between the two. Mathews had won the homer title and Hank kept trying to match him. He became a consistent homer hitter, but I think he would have homered just as often by hitting line drives -- to all fields. But he wanted to get more loft on the ball. He had great forearms and wrists. He could be fooled completely and be way out on his front foot and the bat would still be back and he'd just roll his wrists and hit the ball out of the ballpark. He had control over his body. Aaron was the best all-around ballplayer I ever saw -- better than Mantle or Mays. Mays was great, but Aaron did everything he did without the flair .... Willie would pick the ball up in the outfield and throw it into the seats sometimes, while Hank always made perfect throws. He was just nonchalant."
-- Lew Burdette
We Played the Game

"Aaron was a natural. As good as he hit, I think he could have been a little bit better. He could steal bases, but he never stole that many. He could take an extra base, but he never overexerted himself. If we need it, he would do it, but he wouldn't do it every day. He didn't loaf and he'd catch everything, but he didn't hustle as much as Mays. If Willie could see a double, he'd go for it, where Henry would round first and pull up."
-- Bob Buhl
We Played the Game

Most career home runs (755)
Most career RBI (2,297)
Most career extra base hits (1,477)
Most career total bases (6, 856)
Only player to hit at least 30 home runs in 15 seasons
Only player to hit at least 20 home runs in 20 seasons
First player to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
Led NL in home runs four times
Led NL in RBI four times
Led NL in batting two times
Major League Batting Record
Year
Team
G
AB
H
R
2B
3B
HR
RBI
SB
BB
SO
BA
OBP
SLG
1954
MIL
122
468
131
58
27
6
13
69
2
28
39
.280
.322
.447
1955
MIL
153
602
189
105
37
9
27
106
3
49
61
.314
.366
.540
1956
MIL
153
609
200
106
34
14
26
92
2
37
54
.328
.365
.558
1957
MIL
151
615
198
118
27
6
44
132
1
57
58
.322
.378
.600
1958
MIL
153
601
196
109
34
4
30
95
4
59
49
.326
.386
.546
1959
MIL
154
629
223
116
46
7
39
123
8
51
54
.355
.401
.636
1960
MIL
153
590
172
102
20
11
40
126
16
60
63
.292
.352
.566
1961
MIL
155
603
197
115
39
10
34
120
21
56
64
.327
.381
.594
1962
MIL
156
592
191
127
28
6
45
128
15
66
73
.323
.390
.618
1963
MIL
161
631
201
121
29
4
44
130
31
78
94
.319
.391
.586
1964
MIL
145
570
187
103
30
2
24
95
22
62
46
.328
.393
.514
1965
MIL
150
570
181
109
40
1
32
89
24
60
81
.318
.379
.560
1966
ATL
158
603
168
117
23
1
44
127
21
76
96
.279
.356
.539
1967
ATL
155
600
184
113
37
3
39
109
17
63
97
.307
.369
.573
1968
ATL
160
606
174
84
33
4
29
86
28
64
62
.287
.354
.498
1969
ATL
147
547
164
100
30
3
44
97
9
87
47
.300
.396
.607
1970
ATL
150
516
154
103
26
1
38
118
9
74
63
.298
.385
.574
1971
ATL
139
495
162
95
22
3
47
118
1
71
58
.327
.410
.669
1972
ATL
129
449
119
75
10
0
34
77
4
92
55
.265
.390
.514
1973
ATL
120
392
118
84
12
1
40
96
1
68
51
.301
.402
.643
1974
ATL
112
340
91
47
16
0
20
69
1
39
29
.268
.341
.491
1975
MIL
137
465
109
45
16
2
12
60
0
70
51
.234
.332
.355
1976
MIL
85
271
62
22
8
0
10
35
0
35
38
.229
.315
.369
TOTALS
3298
12364
3771
2174
624
98
755
2297
240
1402
1383
.305
.374
.555
World Series
1957
7
28
11
5
0
1
3
7
0
1
6
.393
.414
.786
1958
7
27
9
3
2
0
0
2
0
4
6
.333
.419
.407
TOTALS
14
56
20
8
2
1
3
9
0
5
12
.342
.416
.566

Major League Fielding Record
Pos.
G
PO
A
E
DP
FP
OF
2760
5539
201
117
41
.980
1B
210
1791
117
20
152
.990
DH
202
-
-
-
-
-
2B
43
102
99
7
25
.974
3B
7
4
12
0
0
.949
3020
7436
429
144
218
.982