Marquist Parker Sports Editor
On April 4, 1974 baseball legend Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s home-run record, hitting his 714th. Aaron retired as the all-time home run leader with 755. He also holds the record for the most career RBI (2,297), extra base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856). He ranks second in at-bats (12,364) and intentional walks (293) and is third all-time in hits (3,771) and fourth all-time in total runs (2,174). He hit .300 or better in 14 seasons, hit 40 or more home runs eight times and hit 20 or more home runs in 20 consecutive seasons.
In 1982 he was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His 97.8 percent “yes” votes on all ballots cast was the second most at the time, behind only Ty Cobb in 1936. On February 5, 1999, Major League Baseball announced the creation of the Hank Aaron Award on the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Ruth’s record. The award is presented annually to the best hitter in the American and National leagues.
Throughout his career Aaron openly spoke out for racial equality in baseball, not just on the field but in the front office. “On the field, Blacks have been able to be super giants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again,” said Aaron in reference to a lack of black managers and black front office personnel. In 1999 he was named to Major League Baseball’s “All-Century Team.” In 2002 Hank Aaron was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.