Hank Aaron is an American athlete and Hall of Fame
baseball player who held numerous batting records,
played in 2 World Series, as well as a record 24
All-Star games. He was an outfielder for the Milwaukee
Braves, which became the Atlanta Braves in 1966.
On April 8th, 1974, Hammerin' Hank surpassed the
previous record of 714 homeruns set by Babe Ruth.
He went on to hit a total of 755 homeruns, with
a record 2297 runs batted in. He held the all-time
Major League Baseball homerun record for more
than 33 years.
Biographical fast facts
Full or original name at birth: Henry Louis Aaron
Date, time and place of birth: February 5, 1934,
at approximately 8:25 p.m., Down the Bay district, Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A.
Date, place and cause of death: (Alive as of 2012)
Spouse: Barbara Lucas (m. October 1953 - February 1971) (divorced)
Spouse: Billye Williams (m. November 12, 1973)
Wedding took place at the University of the West Indies chapel, Kingston, Jamaica.
Sons: Hank Aaron, Jr. (b. March of 1957)
Lary Aaron (twin born prematurely December 1957)
Gary Aaron (twin born prematurely December 1957 - died in infancy)
Daughters: Gaile Aaron (b. 1954)
Dorinda Aaron (b. February 5, 1962)
His second wife, Billye Williams, is the mother of Ceci,
while his other kids, Hank Aaron, Jr., Lary, Gary, Gaile,
and Dorinda are from his first marriage.
Father: Herbert Aaron
Mother: Estella Aaron
Error corrections or clarifications
* At least one source mistakenly reports Hank
had just one child. For the record, he had a total of six
children, five of which survived to adulthood. Hank Aaron
himself acknowledged this in his Baseball Hall of Fame
acceptance speech: "I would like to acknowledge the
presence of my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Aaron,
without whose love and encouragement, this day could
not have been. My wife, Billye, who brought an awful
lot of sunshine into my life. And I would like to
introduce my children, Gaile, Hankie, Lary, Dorinda, Ceci."
"Hammerin' Hank" Aaron is best-known for breaking
Babe Ruth's homerun record of 714 career home runs.
Hank ended his baseball career with a total of
755 homeruns, and a record 2297 runs batted in.
He was with the Braves from 1954-74, and the
Milwaukee Brewers (1975-76).
Following his stellar career as an outfielder
and powerful hitter, Hank became one of the
first African-Americans in Major League Baseball
upper-level management when he was named vice
president of player development for the Atlanta
Braves. He advanced to the position of senior
vice president of the Atlanta Braves in 1989.
He was also a member of the Atlanta Braves'
board of directors in 2007 when it changed
hands from Time Warner Inc. to Liberty Media
Hank was the recipient of numerous civic
awards, and also received the Presidential
Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian
honor, from President George W. Bush.
In addition to his career in baseball management,
Hank was a successful businessman, and hands-on
entrepreneur. At one point, his Hank Aaron Automotive
Group owned BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Land Rover,
and Mini automobile dealerships. He divested himself
of most of the car dealerships by early 2007, but
retained his 755 Restaurant Corp., and its network
of fast-food franchises.
Remaining physically active into his 70s, he
enjoyed fishing, tennis, golf and frequently began
his day with a pre-dawn workout at the Atlanta Braves'
weight room at Turner Field.
In June of 2007, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines
honored his Hall of Fame career and humanitarian
work by christening a new 757 aircraft the "Hank
Aaron 755." The jet features artwork depicting
Aaron along with the number "755" to indicate
his home run total.
In 2007, as controversy swirled around Barry Bonds
and his pursuit of Aaron's all-time record of 755
career homeruns, Hank chose to stay above the fray.
"I'm not getting into it. I'm staying out of that,"
Hank said in regard to the Barry Bonds' pursuit of
the homerun record and doping allegations. He'd
made the decision not to attend the fateful game
in which Bonds' might break his record long before
the controversy came to a boil. "If I chased
behind Barry, then I would be endorsing everything
Barry's doing," Aaron said. "There are still
allegations and court cases open and I don't
want to be part of it."
The allegations against Barry Bonds regarding
possible steroid use brought about questions over
the validity of a drug-enhanced home run record.
Some labeled Bonds an "embarrassment" and a
"cheat" and called his quest for the record a
"criminal pursuit." The possibility that the
ultimate MLB record could be tainted by player
drug use whipped the media into a frenzy. Hank
Aaron actually faced criticism over his refusal
to either condemn Bonds and his possible drug
use or defend him. Through it all, he refused
to be dragged into the controversy, continuing
to focus his energy on his philanthropic efforts
and a big move to his new West Palm Beach home.
The Florida home is where he and his wife plan
to live out their retirement.
When Barry Bonds surpassed Hank's record
of 755 homeruns in August 2007, he graciously
offered his best wishes in a video message:
"I would like to offer my congratulations
to Barry Bonds on becoming baseball's career
home run leader. It is a great accomplishment
which requires longevity and determination.
Throughout the past century, the home run
has held a special place in baseball, and I
have been privileged to hold this record for
33 of those years. I move over now and offer
my best wishes to Barry and his family on
this historical achievement. 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."
Personal appearances, baseball memorabilia activities,
and his youth foundation, Chasing the Dream, also
kept the major league record-holder busy. Hank's wife
Billye was president and co-founder of his Chasing
the Dream Foundation, which helps underprivileged
children develop their talents and accomplish their
goals. Their organization focuses on children ages
9-12 with limited opportunities, and gives them a
chance to pursue their dreams in areas in which they
have shown early ability. "The most important thing
is, if a kid wants to chase his or her dream in music
or anything else, we are going to try to help them,"
the former home run king says. "If someone hadn't
helped me, I never would have been able to achieve
The most in-depth of more than three dozen
sources consulted in preparing this
I Had a Hammer: The Hank Aaron Story, by Hank Aaron (1991)
Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America by Tom Stanton (2004)
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