Justice constructed a 133 OPS+ from 1990-96, and the 150 homers he hit as a Braves right fielder rank second in franchise history. At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game's key career power hitting records. While preparing the massive coverage of the home run record, he quietly had an obituary written, afraid that Aaron might be murdered.[51]. Hank Aaron (Henry Louis Aaron) was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama. But in his final game that year, playing against the Houston Astros (managed by Leo Durocher, who had once roomed with Babe Ruth), he was unable to achieve this. Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Carl Furillo… . [17] As a result of his standout play with the Indianapolis Clowns, Aaron received two offers from MLB teams via telegram, one from the New York Giants and the other from the Boston Braves. Part of that is about his production on the field, which was always excellent. On February 5, 1999, at his 65th birthday celebration, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award. My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams. During the strike-shortened season of 1972, Aaron tied and then surpassed Willie Mays for second place on the career home run list. [19], The Howe Sports Bureau credits Aaron with a .366 batting average in 26 official Negro league games, with five home runs, 33 runs batted in (RBI), 41 hits, and nine stolen bases. The Braves were able to speak to the draft board, making the case that Aaron could be the player to integrate the Southern Association the following season with the Atlanta Crackers. He would create his own bats and balls out of materials he found on the streets. We’d come to the park with [grease] paint on our faces like a clown. Aaron was 34 years, five months and nine days old. We wore clowning wigs and the big old clown uniforms with ruffled collars. Like Jackie Robinson, he helped open doors that changed the game forever … and for the better. (AP Photo/John Bazemore). The Hall of Famer was killed in a plane crash on Dec. 31, 1972, while transporting earthquake relief supplies to Nicaragua. .in the Negro League to playing professional baseball,” Aaron told Tavis Smiley of National Public Radio (NPR). Ott led the then-New York Giants to three NL pennants during his 22-year, Hall of Fame career. [77] The award is given annually to the baseball hitters voted the most effective in each respective league. Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). The Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta after the 1965 season. 500 Home Runs and 3,000 Hits  Aaron was the first player to hit 500 home runs and get 3,000 hits. But the iconic Hall of Famer spent most of his career as the Braves' right fielder. ‘Closet racist’ Kings announcer resigns after Cousins conflict. Honestly, this may be the most debate-worthy list of this series. Will that cost him a spot in Cooperstown? It's gone! Willie Mays was the best center fielder of all times, but not the best outfielder. 311/.386/.441 over nine seasons, while twice finishing top three in the NL MVP voting. Mathews was his manager when Aaron turned an Al Downing pitch into the record-breaker. [29], Aaron spent the winter of 1953 playing in Puerto Rico. Newspaper cartoonist Charles Schulz created a series of Peanuts strips printed in August 1973 in which Snoopy attempts to break the Ruth record, only to be besieged with hate mail. He's sittin' on 714. I'm a former Associated Press sportswriter whose journalism career began in 1969 after graduating from Syracuse University with B.A. He stands with Justice and Aaron as the only right fielders in the franchise’s modern history to produce a 130 OPS+ or better in at least two seasons. Evans was a fixture in Boston’s lineup, spending nearly two full decades (1972-90) as the franchise's right fielder.

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