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Hank Aaron

Updated on December 1, 2016

Hank Aaron was an American baseball player, who in 1974 eclipsed Babe Ruth's lifetime record of 714 major league home runs. Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Ala., on Feb. 5, 1934. In 1952, after a few weeks with a barnstorming black baseball team, he joined Eau Claire (Wis.) of the Northern League as an in-fielder. He spent the 1953 season with Jacksonville (Fla.) of the Sally League and in 1954 was elevated to the major leagues, breaking into the Milwaukee Braves' starting lineup as a right fielder. He moved with the Braves to Atlanta in 1966.

A right-handed hitter with unusually powerful wrists, Aaron produced line drives as well as home runs, winning the National League's batting championship in 1956 and 1959 and its most valuable player award in 1957. He led the league four times in home runs (1957, 1963, 1966, 1967) and runs batted in (1957, 1960, 1963, 1966), and he received the Golden Glove Award for fielding in 1958, 1959, and 1960. His career batting average exceeded .300.

Lacking the flamboyance of a Babe Ruth or a Willie Mays, Aaron was seldom given his due as a hitter until it became evident that his extraordinary consistency was carrying him close to many lifetime marks, most importantly, Ruth's record of 714 home runs.

Aaron tied that record in his first time at bat of the 1974 season, on April 4, in Cincinnati. In a night game in Atlanta on April 8, before a national television audience, he drove number 715 over the left-center-field wall. He hit an outside fast ball thrown by left-hander Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


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