Hank Aaron Legacy: 5 Ways He Changed Baseball Forever

Baseball, MLB article at Knup Sports

Baseball legend, Hank Aaron, passed away on January 26, 2021. The news of Hammerin’ Hank’s death rocked the world because of his significant contributions to the game of baseball. Let’s take a deeper look at the Hank Aaron legacy!

Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama on February 5, 1934. The outfielder played 23 seasons in the MLB for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. Hammer’s resume speaks for itself. He is one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Additionally, Aaron put together an impeccable career during the Civil Rights Movement. The United States was filled with racial turmoil during the fifties and sixties, but this didn’t stop Hammer from leaving his mark on the game of baseball forever.

Here are five ways that Hank Aaron revolutionized the game of baseball.

1 | Broke Babe Ruth’s Home Run Record

Babe Ruth is always included in the conversation when the best baseball players of all time are discussed. The Sultan of Swat hit 714 home runs in his MLB career. This record stood for 33 years until Hank Aaron hit his 715th career homer on April 8, 1974.

Aaron hit his 713th home run at the end of the 1973 season. Aaron could taste the record, but he was afraid that he wouldn’t live to have another at bat in the MLB during the 1974 season. Aaron received countless death threats leading up to 1974.

This was nothing new for Hammer, but racial extremists throughout the nation didn’t want to see an African American dethrone the Bambino’s record. Hammer did live to see another season and on April 8, 1974, he went deep in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Vin Scully’s call of the moment demonstrated the significance of Aaron overtaking Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list.

What a marvelous moment for baseball; what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia; what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol. And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly for Henry Aaron … And for the first time in a long time, that poker face in Aaron shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must have been like to live with for the past several months.

2 | Hank Aaron Legacy — MLB’s All-Time Leader in RBIs, Total Bases, and Extra Base Hits

Aaron no longer holds the all-time home run record. He hit a total of 755 homers over the course of his 21-year career, but he is now second behind Barry Bonds (762). Aaron still leads three all-time lists in the MLB.

Aaron is baseball’s all-time leader in RBIs, total bases, and extra base hits. He drove in 2,297 runs, accounted for 6,856 total bases, and had 1,477 extra base hits.

3 | National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1982

Hank Aaron’s baseball career ended in 1976 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hank Aaron left his mark on the game of baseball as a first ballot Hall of Fame selection. Aaron was inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown as a member of the class of 1982.

Aaron received 97.8% of the vote. Aaron made it easy for voters when he became eligible for the Hall of Fame. Aaron broke multiple offensive records in the MLB. He was a 25 time All-Star, a three-time Golden Glove Award winner, two-time NL batting champion, and the MVP of the National League in 1957.

4 | One of the First African American Executives in the MLB

Following the 1976 season, Hank Aaron joined the Braves as an executive in the team’s front office. Aaron was named the Braves’ Vice President and Director of Player Development. This was very significant at the time because there were very few minorities in upper-level management positions throughout the MLB.

Hank Aaron opened the door for other African Americans in the front office of franchises all over the MLB.

5 | Battled Adversity to Become One of the Best Players of All Time

The adversity that Hank Aaron had to endure during his time in the MLB was overwhelming. However, Aaron still showed up every day and went to work. He didn’t allow racism to get the best of his on-field performance.

Jackie Robinson integrated the game of baseball, but Hank Aaron was the main figure to show the world that everyone could be successful in the MLB. Aaron’s statistics will blow every baseball fan away when viewed closely.

He was one of the most dangerous hitters the game has ever seen, but he did this in a time when racism was overtaking the country. Aaron’s performance on the field helped heal the nation during a period when hatred always seemed to prevail.

Without Hank Aaron, baseball would not look the same in today’s world. This man revolutionized the game forever. His efforts will never be forgotten.

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron

Thank You Hammer and thank you readers for your interest in the Hank Aaron legacy.

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