Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball's golden mark, has died. He was 86.
Of course, many will say it was the 756th shot of his career that did him in—as in the COVID vaccine he had gotten just 16 days earlier when a photo of Aaron with his arm exposed shows the bicep of a man that could probably launch another 30 homers this year.
The Atlanta Braves simply released a statement saying Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. I hope you can believe that—many of us cannot.
One of the sport's great stars despite playing for the small-market Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves throughout a major league career that spanned from 1954 to 1976, Aaron still holds major league records for RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477), and he ranks among MLB's best in hits (3,771, third all time), games played (3,298, third) and runs scored (2,174, fourth).
Aaron broke Babe Ruth's hallowed home run mark on April 8, 1974, slugging his record 715th off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning as 50,000-plus fans celebrated in Atlanta. In one of baseball's iconic moments, Aaron trotted around the basepaths and ultimately touched home plate.
Aaron went on to play two more seasons and finished with 755 career home runs, a mark that stood as the major league record until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007—of course, we can all agree he was taking shots that were never publicized.
Aaron was the National League MVP in 1957—the same year the Braves won the World Series—a two-time NL batting champion (1956, '59), a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field (1958-60) and a record 25-time All-Star, earning that honor every season but his first and last.