National Baseball Hall of Fame to unveil new Hank Aaron statue today

Fifty years ago, Hank Aaron broke the unbreakable record, hitting his 715th homer to pass Babe Ruth as the all-time home run king.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced in April that it will celebrate Aaron with a new bronze statue of his likeness to be unveiled Thursday May 23 in Cooperstown, New York. Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark made the announcement Monday morning during the opening events for the new exhibit dedicated to Aaron at the Atlanta History Center. The exhibit displays numerous pieces of history that Aaron donated to the Hall of Fame.

Return to AJC for coverage of the Hank Aaron event on May 23

“The legacy of Hank Aaron has always been about so much more than just his incredible baseball achievements,” Clark said in a statement. “His philanthropic vision, his support of youth empowerment efforts and his pioneering work as an executive have opened the doors of opportunity for millions throughout the United States and around the world. We are extremely privileged to care for and preserve his entire personal collection in Cooperstown, and this statue will stand forever as a tribute to an American hero.”

The statue will be on the first floor of the museum. It will be unveiled during the Hall of Fame Classic celebration on Memorial Day weekend.

“Henry would be as pleased and excited as I am to have his statue placed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown,” Aaron’s wife Billye said in a statement. “His life and legacy reflected his high hopes and big dreams. Both inspired and propelled him to incredible accomplishments in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He wanted to be an inspiration to young boys and girls everywhere. My heartfelt thanks to Jane Forbes Clark, and the Board of Directors, for this very fitting tribute to Henry and the sport he loved so dearly. I am profoundly grateful. My hope is that this recognition will serve as an inspiration to visitors to Cooperstown for generations to come.”

The Hall of Fame will celebrate the history of Black baseball with a new exhibit, “The Souls of the Game: Voice of Black Baseball,” the same weekend. There will also be a legends game that weekend that will include more than 24 former major leaguers playing at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.

Aaron, a 25-time All-Star, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982. He played 23 years with the Braves and Brewers, producing the most iconic moment of his career April 8, 1974, with home run No. 715 here in Atlanta. The Braves celebrated his achievement on the 50th anniversary Monday before facing the Mets at Truist Park.