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Hall of Famer Hank Aaron dies at 86

Hank Aaron

ATLANTA (WPTA21) - Henry "Hank" Aaron, one of the most storied baseball players in history, has died at age 86.

A cause of death was not announced.

The Hall of Fame outfielder and one-time home run king passed away Friday morning.

Aaron was a native of Alabama whose career began in the Negro Leagues, but quickly took him to the Majors, where he landed with the Milwaukee Braves.

He soon made his mark as one of the most dangerous power hitters in baseball.

Aaron finished his career with a record 755 homers, a stat so impressive it has been bested by only one player, Barry Bonds, who finished his career with 762 – though that record has come under a cloud of steroid-use allegations.

He was back in the news just a few weeks ago, when he received his COVID-19 vaccination.

Some facts and accomplishments from his storied life:

Personal

Birth date: February 5, 1934

Birth place: Mobile, Alabama

Birth name: Henry Louis Aaron

Father: Herbert Aaron

Mother: Estella (Pritchett) Aaron

Marriages: Billye Williams (1973-present); Barbara Lucas (1953-1971, divorced)

Children: with Billye Williams: adopted her daughter, Ceci; with Barbara Lucas: Dorinda, twins Lary and Gary (Gary died in the hospital), Hank Jr., Gaile

Other Facts

Statistics in his 23-season career include 3,771 hits, 755 home runs and a batting average of .305.

Selected for 25 Major League Baseball All-Star games.

Nicknamed “Hammerin’ Hank.”

The Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers have both retired his jersey number, 44.

His brother, Tommie, was also a MLB player.

Winner of three Gold Glove awards.

Timeline

1951 - Begins playing for the Negro American League’s Indianapolis Clowns.

April 13, 1954 - Makes his MLB debut with the Milwaukee Braves.

1954-1965 - Plays for the Milwaukee Braves.

April 23, 1954 -Hits his first Major League home run when the Braves play the St. Louis Cardinals.

1957 - The Milwaukee Braves win the World Series. Aaron is named National League MVP.

1966 -The Milwaukee Braves become the Atlanta Braves.

1966-1974 - Plays for the Atlanta Braves.

April 8, 1974 - Breaks Babe Ruth’s record with his 715th home run during a home game.

1974-1976 - Plays for the Milwaukee Brewers.

July 20, 1976 - Hits his final home run (755).

October 3, 1976 - Plays his final game.

1976-1989 - Becomes director of player development for the Atlanta Braves.

August 1, 1982 - Is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

1989-present - Senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves.

1995 - Founds the 755 Restaurant Corporation, which operates multiple fast food franchises in Georgia.

1999 -In honor of the 25th anniversary of his home run record, MLB announces the creation of the Hank Aaron Award, to be given to the best overall hitter in each league.

2002 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

August 7, 2007 - Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, surpasses Aaron’s record with 756 home runs.

April 25, 2009 - The permanent exhibit, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, opens at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. There are only two exhibits that honor a single player; the other is for Babe Ruth.

February 13, 2010 - Is inducted as a Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society.

April 14, 2010 - The Hank Aaron Childhood Home & Museum opens in Mobile, Alabama.

February 2014 - The Atlanta Braves announce they will honor the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s then-record 715th home run by wearing commemorative patches on the sleeves of their uniforms during the season.

January 14, 2016 - Is presented with the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s highest honors, for his work with the World Children’s Baseball Fair.

January 12, 2017 - The Atlanta Braves announce that their new stadium, SunTrust Park, will feature a bronze statue of Aaron, along with other decorations to honor his career. An older statue of him at the Braves’ former ballpark, Turner Field, will remain at the site rather than moving to the new venue.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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