The world of Major League Baseball was rocked on Friday morning by the death of the legendary, Hall of Fame slugger Henry “Hank” Aaron. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 86.
Aaron made immeasurable contributions to the game of baseball during his illustrious career. On the field, he made 25 All Star teams, winning the 1957 MVP award as a member of the Milwaukee Braves. The game acknowledged his impressive accomplishments by voting him into the Hall of Fame in his first time on the ballot in 1982.
Aaron became known for his power at the plate, setting a new standard for sluggers around the world. Over an incredible stretch from 1957 to 1973, he hit 30 home runs or more in 15 of 17 seasons. During that era, he led MLB in RBI on four separate occasions and hit over .300 nearly every year. He raked a career 755 home runs, breaking the original record held by Babe Ruth in 1973. He still holds the record for most career RBI with 2,297.
Apart from his successes on the field, Aaron towered above everyone off of the diamond for his courage. The legendary slugger came into the league less than a decade after Jackie Robinson made history by becoming the first African-American player to play in major league baseball. Aaron still faced immeasurable odds throughout his career in a sport that did not fully accept him because of the color of his skin. During his record-breaking 1973 season, Aaron dealt with death threats and disgusting insults, but still accomplished what seemed impossible, shattering Ruth’s home run record. In the latter stages of his life, he remained outspoken about social justice and continued to use his platform in meaningful ways.
Needless to say, the sports world was devastated to hear of the the legend’s passing. Many took to social media to grieve for Aaron or to thank him for his contributions to the world, both on and off the field.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 22, 2021
I have never seen a man so revered walking into a room filled with other Hall of Famers than Hank Aaron. He was a giant in so many ways, and his death today, many who have spoken to him in recent weeks, has left his closest friends in disbelief.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) 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
Rest Easy Hank Aaron. True Legend On and Off The Diamond, A Hero to Myself and So Many People!!! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Jarvis Juice Landry (@God_Son80) January 22, 2021
Rest in peace to the home run king, Hank Aaron. pic.twitter.com/Hfdi8tLL2k
— bryantmuseum (@bryantmuseum) January 22, 2021
A legend on and off the ball field… the best to ever do it… RIP Mr Hank Aaron 🙏🏿 #44 pic.twitter.com/3LH6iB9auV
— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) January 22, 2021
Great piece to read to honor a great man. Hank Aaron is one of the finest people this nation has ever produced. Do yourself a favor and read as much as you can on him today. https://t.co/c0lrC8pQiA
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 22, 2021
Rest In Peace to the legendary #HankAaron thank you sir!!! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
— Marcus Spears (@mspears96) January 22, 2021
RIP to the legend and civil rights activists Hank Aaron 💯
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) January 22, 2021
I can’t imagine what Hank Aaron went through in his lifetime. He had every right to be angry or militant…..but never was! He spread his grace on everything and every one he came in contact with. Epitome of class and integrity. RIP Henry Aaron! #HammerinHank
— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) January 22, 2021
Aaron’s memory will continue to live on in baseball for who he was on the diamond, but also who he was when away from the game. He clearly impacted hundreds of thousands of people around the world, which may be the best example of the legacy he will leave behind.
We send our sincerest condolences to Hank Aaron’s family and loved ones.