Aaron, Hank

ajc.com

Hank Aaron, an Atlanta Braves legend and baseball's homerun king, died Friday January 22. He was 86.

A Hall of Famer, Atlanta's first professional sports star, and, in a soft-spoken way, an agent of change in the post-Jim Crow South, Aaron came to embody Atlanta as he embodied the Braves.

Aaron's record of 755 home runs hardly does justice to his extraordinary career, for he retired with 23 major league records. The all-time RBI leader (2,297) also racked up the most extra-base hits (1,477) and finished in the top three for at-bats (second with 12,364), runs (second with 2,174 in a tie with Babe Ruth), games (third with 3,298) and hits (third with 3,771).

Yet for such slugging, he averaged only 63 strikeouts per season and retired with a career .305 batting average. A 20-time All-Star, he won the 1957 NL Most Valuable Player award and was rushed to Cooperstown on the first-ballot in 1982.

He is survived by his wife Billye, their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci, and his grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the Aaron family would like donations be made to his beloved Chasing the Dream Foundation: Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation 3466 Buffington Center Atlanta, GA 30349.

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