Welcome to a new series that I am starting, where basically I generate a random Atlanta Sports legend, and I write about their career. The first legend I will do is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron. I will review his childhood, road to the pros, and life after the pros.
Hank Aaron was born on February 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama. Growing up as a kid, he would watch Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in 1947 and he would be his childhood idol. He grew up in a poor family and couldn't even afford baseball equipment. Aaron tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 at the age of 15, however did not make the team. Hank Aaron signed with the Indianapolis Clowns in the Negro League in 1951.
As Aaron stood out in the Negro League, he had two MLB offers, one from the Giants and one from the Braves. Aaron would later go on to say that he took the Braves because they gave him $50 a month more than the Giants. $50 kept Hank Aaron and Willie Mays from playing in the same outfield! The Braves purchased him for $10,000. Hank Aaron would spend 2 years in the Braves farm system before getting called to Spring Training in 1954. On April 13, 1954, Hank Aaron made his major league at the age of 20 in a 0 for 5 game against the Reds. He would go on to pick up his first hit two days later. He would finish the 1954 season with a .280 AVG, 13 HRs, and 69 RBIs. This would be the last season until 1976 where he didn't make the All Star Team. Aaron would go on to have a great 1955 season, resulting in his first of 21 consecutive All Star Appearances. 1957 was a historic year for Aaron, as he won NL MVP and led the Braves to the World Series, where they beat the Yankees. Fast Forward to 1963, where he almost won the Triple Crown, leading the NL in home runs and RBIs, and 3rd in AVG. Hank Aaron would put up MVP numbers every year he played in Atlanta. 1974 was his last of 21 seasons in Atlanta, and the most memorable. On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, passing Babe Ruth for the most all time. He did this after receiving death threats from around the country saying that it would be a disgrace if Hank Aaron passed Ruth. Aaron played his last game for the Braves on October 2, 1974 in Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium against the Reds. He went 1-3 with a solo home run in what would be the last of 3076 games across 21 glorious years as a Brave.
Post Braves Career and Baseball Afterlife
Hank Aaron returned to Milwaukee where his Major League Career began with the Braves to play for the Brewers. He played 2 seasons in Milwaukee, with a .232 AVG, 22 HRs and 95 RBIs. He made his last All-Star Game in 1975. He played his last game on October 1, 1976 against the Tigers. He would go 1-3 with a RBI to end an illustrious career. He finished his career with a MVP, 21 All-Star Appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, 2 Silver Sluggers, and 1 ring. He held the Home Run record for 33 years before Barry Bonds broke it in 2007, along with having the all-time record for RBIs and total bases. Aaron rejoined the Braves as an executive member after he retired. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982 as a first ballot member, receiving 97.8% of the vote. He published his autobiography in 1990. He also owned multiple car dealerships in Georgia, but sold all but his Toyota dealership in 2007. He currently owns the Hank Aaron BMW of Union City Dealership. He also owns 30 restaurants chains across the country. Hank Aaron had one of the greatest careers of all time, and has even had a pretty successful career after baseball, owning car dealerships and restaurant chains. The Braves have honored Aaron by naming the street by their old and new stadium 755 after the number of home runs he hit, as well as retiring his name. The Los Angeles Angels Double A stadium in Mobile, Alabama is named after Hank Aaron. Hank Aaron is still thriving in life at the age of 86 and is thankfully healthy and in good shape.
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