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Hank Aaron      

One of the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time; Senior Vice President of the Atlanta Braves

Considered one of the best baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home-run record when he hit his 715th home run in 1974. He later set a new MLB record with 755 career home runs.

Born into humble circumstances on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, Aaron ascended the ranks of the Negro Leagues to become a Major League Baseball icon. His family could not afford baseball equipment, so he practiced by hitting bottle caps with sticks. He would create his own bats and balls out of materials he found on the streets. His boyhood idol was baseball star Jackie Robinson. Aaron played as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves for nearly 23 years, during which time he broke many of baseball's most distinguished records, including most career home runs (755) -- a record that stood for more than two decades.

Aaron continues to hold many of baseball's most distinguished records today, including runs batted in (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856) and most years with 30 or more home runs (15). He is also ranked one of baseball's Top 5 players for career hits and runs. For more than two decades, Aaron held the record for most career home runs (755), surpassing Babe Ruth's home-run record on April 8, 1974. Barry Bonds broke the record on August 7, 2007, when he scored his 756th home run in San Francisco, California.

Aaron made his Major League debut in 1954, at age 20, when a spring training injury to a Braves outfielder created a roster spot for him. In 1956, after winning the first of two batting titles, Aaron registered an unrivaled 1957 season, taking home the National League MVP and nearly nabbing the Triple Crown by hitting 44 home runs, knocking in another 132, and batting .322.

That same year, Aaron demonstrated his ability to come up big when it counted most. His 11th inning home run in late September propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games.

In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron came home with his team. On April 8, he banged out his record 715th home run at 9:07 p.m. in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph and a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks and a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron's parents were there to greet him.

Overall, Aaron finished the 1974 season with 20 home runs. He played two more years, moving back to Milwaukee to finish out his career to play in the same city where he'd started.

After retiring as a player, Aaron moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, "I Had a Hammer," was published in 1990.

In 1999, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of breaking Ruth's record, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall hitter in each league.

Aaron was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. Aaron resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the Senior Vice President of the Atlanta Braves.

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