The Braves’ home run king graced their new spring training home Tuesday morning.
Hall of Famer and franchise icon Henry “Hank” Aaron visited the team’s facilities in North Port, Florida, for the dedication of Hank Aaron Way, which is one entry way into the property at the intersection adjacent to the retired numbers display.
In commemorating Aaron, Braves players and coaches attended the unveiling, standing behind the podium as Aaron briefly spoke. He thanked chairman Terry McGuirk, the organization and fans for their praise and acknowledgement.
“I just want to say thanks to all of you for being here,” Aaron said. “It makes me feel wonderful. … I am extremely proud, extremely proud, of the fact that I’m here with my family. And when I say my family, I’m talking about the Braves. Thank you very much.”
Aaron played for the franchise from 1954-74, setting several all-time records that still stand today: RBIs (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856). A 25-time All-Star, Aaron was a career .305 hitter and his 755 homers are the second most of all-time, though many still consider him No. 1 on that list. He was an executive for the club in his post-player days and has remained a pillar in the Atlanta community.
“Today we get to celebrate the greatest player to ever wear a Braves uniform, Henry Louis Aaron,” McGuirk said as he introduced Aaron. “But for our organization, Hank is much more than a ballplayer. He’s helped guide us ever since his playing days ended. His community outreach and philanthropy has surpassed any major-league record he’s attained.”
After the naming, the Braves held their first full-squad workout at their new exhibition base. They begin Grapefruit league play Saturday against the Orioles at CoolToday Park.
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