Hank Aaron (Henry Louis Aaron) was born on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama. He played his ninth and tenth grade baseball for Central High School as a third baseman and outfielder. The team won the Negro High School championship both of those seasons.
His last two years of high school ball were played at Josephine Allen Institute, which was a private school. He was such a good ball player that the Pritchett Athletics, a semi pro team, picked him up. He played short stop and third base.
While he with the Athletics, scout Ed Scott signed Hank with the Mobile Black Bears for a salary of $3.00 a game. The trouble was that Hank's mother did not want him to travel. But he was so good that the Black Bears agreed that Hank would only play in games in and around Mobile.
In 1951, Bunny Downs, who was a scout for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, signed Hank Aaron on November 20. In 1952, Hank led the Clowns to the Negro League's World Series championship.
The Boston Braves bought his contract on June 14, 1952 for $10,000. He was assigned to the Eau Claire Bears of the Northern League. He played second base and won the leagues rookie of the year.
1953 was another big season for Henry. Playing for the Jacksonville Tars, he led the league in runs(115), hits(208), doubles(36), RBIs(115) and batting average(.362). He was also voted the league's Most Valuable Player Award.
During spring training in 1954, Braves left fielder Bobby Thompson broke his ankle sliding into second base. The next day, Henry played left field and hit a home run. He was the Milwaukee Braves new left fielder.
Hank Aaron made his Major League debut on April 13, 1954. He went 0 for 5 against the Cincinnati Reds.
On April 15, 1954, Aaron smacked his first major league hit, a single off St. Cardinals pitcher Vic Raschi.
Aaron hit his first Major League home run eight days later, also off Raschi. Over the next 122 games, Aaron batted .280 with 13 homers before he suffered a broken ankle on September 5.
In 1955, he played in the first of his 24 All Star games. He ended that season batting .317 with 27 home runs and 106 RBIs.
Hank won his first National League batting title in 1956, hitting .328. he was also named the Sporting News Player Of The Year.
Henry won his first and only National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1957. He led the league in home runs and runs batted in and hit .322. On September 23, he hit an eleventh inning, two run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals to give the Milwaukee Braves their first pennant.
The Braves went on to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. Hank hit .393 in that series with three home runs and seven runs batted in.
1958 was another great season for Hank Aaron. He hit .326 with 30 homers and 95 RBIs. The Braves won the pennant again, but his time lost a seven game World Series to the Yankees.
On June 21, 1959, Hank hit three home runs against the San Francisco Giants. All three were two run homers. It was the only time that he ever hit three home runs in a game.
In 1963, Hank Aaron almost won the Triple Crown. He led the National League with 44 home runs and 130 runs batted in but finished second in batting average. That season he also became only the third player to steal 30 bases and hit 30 home runs. despite the great season, Henry finished third in the MVP voting.
After the 1965 season, the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, where Hank became only the eighth player to hit 500 home runs.
Hank Aaron hit his 537th homer on July 30, 1969. This placed him third on the all time list behind Willie Mays and Babe Ruth.
On May 17, 1970, Hank Aaron got his 3,000th hit against the Cincinnati Reds. He also became the first player in Major League Baseball history to hit 500 home runs and get 3,000 hits. He also set a new Major League record by hitting 30 or more home runs in a season 12 times.
Hank's 600th home run came on April 27, 1971. On July 31, he hit his very first All Star Game home run at Detroit's Tiger Stadium.
On August 10 of 1971, Hank hit number 40. This set a new record for most seasons with 40 or more homers with seven. He finished the season with 47 homers and was third in the MVP voting for the sixth time.
1972 was a record breaking year for Hank Aaron. He past Willie Mays on the home run list and drove in his 2,000 run. He also broke Stan Musial's record for most total bases with 6,134.
By the end of the 1973 season, Hank Aaron had hit 40 home runs to give him 713. One behind the Babe.
The Atlanta Braves opened the 1974 season in Cincinnati. Braves management wanted Hank to break the record in Atlanta, so they decided to sit Hank for the games in Cincinnati. But Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn ruled that Henry had to play at least two games.
In his first at bat, Hank Aaron tied babe Ruth by hitting number 714 off of the Reds Jack Billingham.
A record crowd of 53,775 fans showed up in Atlanta on April 8, 1974. In the fourth inning, Hank hit number 715 off of the Los Angeles Dodger's Al Downing. Braves relief pitcher Tom House caught it in the bull pen.
On October 2, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his last home run as a Brave. In the off season, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dave May and Roger Alexander. Hank would be the Brewers Designated Hitter.
Hank Aaron became Major League Baseball's all time RBI leader on May 1, 1975. And on June 20, 1976, he would hit his 755th home run off of Dick Drago of the California Angels. His last one.
Henry Aaron was elected to Baseball's Hall Of Fame on August 1, 1982. He received a 97.8 percent of the ballots. At the time, only Ty Cobb had received a higher percentage(98.2).
On February 5, 1999, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award. It was the first major award given by Major league Baseball in almost 30 years and was the first named for a former player that was still living.
Hank Aaron was voted number 5 on the Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players. Hank was also elected to Major League Baseball's All Century Team.
Henry Aaron's Statistics and Awards:
Major League Leader:
Extra Base Hits-1,477
Individual Awards and Stats:
Batting Champion: 1956 and 1959
Home Run Leader: 1957, 1963, 1966, 1967
NL Hits Leader: 1956 and 1959
NL RBI Leader: 1957, 1960, 1963, 1966
NL MVP: 1957
NL Gold Gloves: 1958, 1959, 1960
Lou Gehrig Award: 1970
24 All Star Games
First player to hit 500 home runs and collect 3,000 hits.
Only player to hit 30 or more home runs in 15 seasons.
Only player to hit 20 or more home runs in 20 seasons.
Holds the Major League Record for consecutive seasons with at least 150 hits(17).
3,298 Games Played
12,364 At Bats
2,174 Runs Scored
755 Home Runs
240 Stolen Bases
.305 Lifetime Batting Average
.374 On Base Percentage
.555 Slugging Average
6,856 Total Bases
Hank Aaron Facts:
Hank Aaron and Tommy Aaron combined for the most home runs by brothers. Tommy hit 13.
Eddie Matthews and Hank Aaron combined for the most major league home runs by teammates.
Henry's number in his rookie year was #5.
Aaron hit more home runs off of Don Drysdale than any other pitcher.
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