Today is Hank Aaron's birthday. So I figured it was only fitting to feature him as my Daily Doodle. He was quite the ball player, if I do say so myself. I mean, he broke Babe Ruth's home run record... THE Babe Ruth.
Hank Aaron was born February 5, 1934 to parents, Estella and Herbert Aaron, in Mobile, Alabama. He was the third of eight children. When Hank was 8 his family moved to a middle-class neighborhood where he developed his affinity for football and baseball.
In 1951 Hank quit school to play baseball for the Negro Leagues and quickly rose through the ranks, leading his club to victory in the league's 1952 World Series. Aaron signed with the Milwaukee Braves and was assigned to a farm club where he earned Northern League Rookie of the Year in 1952. He was promoted to the Class A Jacksonville Braves in 1953 and made his Major League debut in 1954 at the age of 20. He had a solid first year and powered through the '55 season and won his first batting title in 1956. He took home the National League MVP in 1957. That same year, Aaron demonstrated his ability to come up big when it counted most. He hit an 11th inning home run to send the Braves to the World Series, where he led the underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games.
Aaron would go one to hit 30 to 40 home runs on an annual basis. In 1973, at the age of 39, Aaron was still a force to be reckoned with, hitting 40 home runs to finish the year with a career total of 713, just one behind Babe Ruth. In 1974, after tying Ruth on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron came home with his team. On April 8, he knocked out his record 715th home run off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph, more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks, a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron's parents were there to greet him.
After finishing his record-breaking 1974 season with 20 home runs, Aaron joined the Brewers in his old big league hometown of Milwaukee and took advantage of the new 'designated hitter' rule that gave aging players a chance to rest their legs. He played two more years, wrapping up his stellar career after the 1976 season as a Major League Baseball icon.
Aaron, nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. Over 21 years as an outfielder for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and two final years as a DH for the Milwaukee Brewers, he compiled numerous records, including:
• Runs batted in (2,297)
• Extra-base hits (1,477)
• Total bases (6,856)
• All-star appearances (25)
• Years with 30 or more home runs (15 — since tied by Alex Rodriguez)
Aaron ranks second all-time in home runs (755 - topped by Barry Bonds in 2007... I won't get into the doping business, but know I'm rolling my eyes), third in hits (3,771), third in games played (3,298) and fourth in runs scored (2,174). Over the course of his career, he won two batting titles, led his league in homers and RBIs four times each, and won three Gold Gloves for fielding excellence.
Hank Aaron was inducted into the hall of fame in 1982. In 1999, Major League Baseball introduced the Hank Aaron Award to honor the top hitter in each league. His accomplishments showed both on and off the field, showcasing his athletic prowess, but also confronting racism (he started playing even before MLK's 'I have a Dream' speech). No one can decline the impact he made on the sport and also on society.