Hank Aaron’s legendary career by the numbers

Former Channel 2 Sports Anchor remembers Hank Aaron
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Former Channel 2 Sports Anchor remembers Hank Aaron

Credit: AJC Sports

Credit: AJC Sports

Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the one-time home-run king, a civil-rights activist, and the best player in Braves history, died Friday morning at age 86.

Aaron played from 1954-76, assembling a decorated career in which he set multiple records, including passing Babe Ruth and finishing with 755 home runs. During that chase, Aaron remained graceful and courageous in the face of constant hate and vitriol. Aaron became an icon and inspiration well beyond his on-field achievements.

There’s no player with a longer list of eye-popping numbers, but we put together some of Aaron’s best:

755: The number most associated with Aaron is 755, his career home run total. Aaron set the record (which was previously 714) on April 8, 1974 when the Braves were hosting the Dodgers at then-Atlanta Stadium.

Aaron’s high mark stood for 33 years. When Barry Bonds surpassed the total in 2007, Aaron shared in his congratulatory video: “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.”

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Baseball legend Hank Aaron died at the age of 86. Here he talks with the AJC about his legacy in a 2014 interview.

2,297: Aaron is MLB’s all-time RBIs leader. He led the league in RBIs four times and accrued 11 seasons with more than 100 runs batted in. Aaron also is the all-time leader in total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477).

3,771 and 2,174: Aaron ranks third all-time with 3,771 hits, outpaced by only Pete Rose and Ty Cobb. A commonly referenced yet absurd statistic: If you remove Aaron’s 755 homers, he’d still be part of the 3,000-hit club. He’s also fourth all-time with 2,174 runs scored, trailing only Rickey Henderson, Cobb and Bonds.

25: Aaron was a 25-time All-Star, most in history (MLB had two All-Star games from 1959-62). He was an All-Star in 21 consecutive seasons from 1955-75 with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and (in 1975) the Milwaukee Brewers.

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1957: This was a notable season in Aaron’s career because he achieved two milestones: A championship and an MVP. Aaron won his only World Series title when his Milwaukee Braves bested the defending champion New York Yankees. It was a star-studded series featuring eight Hall of Fame players, including Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Aaron.

Aaron, 23, won his only MVP after hitting .322/.378/.600 with a league-leading 44 homers and 132 RBIs. It was the second consecutive season Aaron led the majors in total bases, a feat he accomplished eight times in his career.

1973: A sign of his consistency and dominance even in the later years: In his age-39 season, Aaron hit .301 with 40 homers and 96 RBIs. He had 20 seasons in which he exceeded 20 home runs.

1,402 vs. 1,383: Remarkably, Aaron walked more than he struck out. In fact, he never struck out 100 times in a season – his highest total was 97 strikeouts in 1967.

2 + 3: Aaron twice won the batting title, hitting .328 in 1956 and .355 in 1959. He also won three Gold Gloves, doing so from 1958-60 as an outfielder.

Career slash line: Aaron hit .305/.374/.555 across 3,298 games. He averaged 37 homers and 113 RBIs – with 69 walks against 68 strikeouts – annually over a 162-game pace.

Through the years: Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, his first year on the ballot. The Braves retired his No. 44 in 1977, while the Brewers retired No. 44 in 1976. Major League Baseball created the “Hank Aaron Award” on Feb. 5, 1999, Aaron’s 65th birthday. The award goes to the best offensive player in the National and American League. Aaron received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. In November 2020, Aaron announced Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman as the NL MVP during MLB Network’s award broadcast.

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