When anyone talks about the legends of the game of baseball, a few names always come to mind.
....and Henry “Hank” Louis Aaron.
Hank Aaron exemplifies everything that you want out of a baseball player. He was obviously one of the best players to ever play the game with a career fWAR of 136.3 to go along with a career .305/.374/.555 line with the familiar 755 home runs and 3771 hits.
He also did so in an environment that was incredibly hostile towards African-Americans and he experienced forms of racism that would have deterred lesser human beings from achieving even the most basic of goals, let alone being one of the best baseball players to ever play the game on a huge public stage.
After he retired, he continued to be an active member of the Braves and Atlanta communities and cemented his status not only as a baseball icon, but arguably THE crown jewel of Atlanta sports. Even recently, he publicly received the COVID-19 vaccine to show the community that it was safe and to encourage others to do the same. They don’t make human beings better than Hank.
Sadly today, we lost him.
BREAKING NEWS: Hall of Famer and one-time home run king Atlanta Braves legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron passed away this morning at the age of 86. https://t.co/v72XAnGpmY— CBS46 (@cbs46) January 22, 2021
Hank’s legacy is too much to enumerate in this piece, but he stands as not only among the all-time leaders in most offensive categories in the history of baseball, but his legacy is one of unbelievable athletic excellence while showing incredible humility and grace.
We will assuredly have more on Hank’s career and legacy in the near future as we reflect on a life worth celebrating, but for now...today is one for grief for Braves fans in a month or so that has been an unfair in terms of losses from the Braves pantheon. Phil Niekro passed away on December 26th and Don Sutton died just a few days ago on January 18th.
It just doesn’t seem fair. Our thoughts go out to Aaron’s friends and family as well as to all of Braves Country today.
Update - The Braves released the following statement in regards to Aaron’s passing.
“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank. He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn’t just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.
We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci and his grandchildren.” – from Terry McGuirk, Braves Chairman