“My motto was to always keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling bad or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was to keep swinging.”
Hank Aaron was one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He hit 755 Home Runs, second only to Barry Bonds who hit 762. Aaron is the all-time career RBI leader with 2,297. Everyone speaks about Aaron’s accomplishments as a hitter; he also was a fine outfielder who won three Gold Gloves. Hank ran well and would steal bases when the Braves needed him to do so.
Aaron won the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1957 when he led the Braves to their only World Championship in Milwaukee. Hank won two batting titles and finished his Major League career with 3,771 hits; only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb amassed more base hits than Henry Aaron.
Aaron belted 30 or more Home Runs 15 times and 40 or more Homers eight times.
William Shakespeare once said, “Consistency is like a jewel.” Hank Aaron not only was consistent; he was consistently great!
Aaron is not a big guy; 6′ 180 lbs. He did have tremendous wrists and that is why he was a great hitter and a great power hitter. NOBODY could throw a fastball by Hank Aaron.
Clete Boyer, a former teammate of Aaron’s with the Braves, once said to me that Hank Aaron was to baseball what Oscar Robertson was to basketball. Methodical and consistent; not flashy or colorful.
Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle were Aaron’s contemporaries. Both Willie and Mickey played in New York and both had great charisma which is something Aaron did not possess. That is why Aaron did not receive a great deal of national attention until he closed in on Babe Ruth’s Home Run record.
Aaron’s feats are incredible. Many people feel that Hank Aaron still should be regarded as the Home Run Champion because of what Barry Bonds did in the “steroid” era. Some say there should be an asterisk next to Bonds name in the record book. Maybe there should be an asterisk next to Aaron’s name because of the racism he encountered as a young man in the Minor Leagues and all the racist hate mail he received while pursuing Base Ruth’s record.
Hank Aaron persevered.