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Hank Aaron Biography

Played In Negro League And Major League, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Hank Aaron: Chasing The DreamSELECTED WRITINGS BY AARON:


American baseball player

The baseball legend Hank Aaron holds the major league record for the most career home runs (755) and made his way into the record books with 12 other career firsts, including most games, at-bats, total bases, and runs batted in (RBI). "Hammerin' Hank" made history on April 8, 1974, when he surpassed Babe Ruth's home run record of 714; he went on to outdo Ruth by 42 home runs. Throughout his long, decorated career as a player for the Indianapolis Clowns, Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers, Aaron played a record number of All-Star Games and won three Golden Glove Awards for his performance in right field. As the last Negro League player to have also played in the major leagues, Aaron was a bridge between two worlds, facing and speaking out against racial discrimination, particularly toward the end of his career. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Hank Aaron

Born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1934, Henry Louis Aaron was the third of eight children of Herbert and Estella Aaron. Nicknamed "Man" by his parents and siblings, young Aaron lived with his family in a poor, predominantly black area of town called Down the Bay. The family later moved to an area known as Toulminville, where the young athlete was raised in the midst of the Great Depression. He fell in love with baseball at an early age, taking his first swings with broomsticks as bats and bottle caps as balls. His boyhood idol was the first African American major league player, Jackie Robinson.

A star athlete in high school, Aaron played shortstop and third base; despite the fact that he batted cross-handed, he was a powerful hitter. By his junior year he was playing semiprofessional baseball with the Mobile Black Bears, who paid him ten dollars a game. A distinguished football player as well as a baseball star, he attended Mobile's Central High School and later transferred to the Josephine Allan Institute. Although he received several football scholarship offers, he turned these down to pursue a career in major league baseball.


(With Lonnie Wheeler) I Had a Hammer. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Sketch by Wendy Kagan

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Famous Sports StarsBaseball