Hall of Famer and longtime home run king Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron died Friday morning, his daughter confirmed to WSB-TV in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves legend was 86. His career was marked with incredible accomplishments, including surpassing Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record.
On the field, few players in history were as skilled at every dimension of the game. Mr. Aaron won three Gold Gloves for his defensive play in the outfield and was deceptively fast, once finishing second in stolen bases in 1963 to the speedster Maury Wills.
Here are the most impressive stats and achievements in Hank Aaron’s career:
Even without the home runs, Hank still had 3,000 career hits
Aaron’s combination of home run power and ability to get on base was second to none. He is the only player in the 500 home run club who would still have 3,000 hits without his home runs. Eddie Murray is the only other player who even surpasses 2,500 career hits after taking out his homers.
He led the league in home runs over the five-year stretch that spanned his 35-39 year old seasons
Hammerin’ Hank’s power didn’t disappear with age. Per Baseball Musings, Aaron hit 203 home runs from 1969-73—his age-35 to age-39 seasons—which was the most of any player over that five-year stretch. He did so with ease too, hitting 18 more homers than the second-highest finisher in that period Willie Stargell.
He hit his 755 career homers without ever hitting 50 in a single season
What allowed Aaron to surpass Babe Ruth was his longevity and consistency as much as his dominance. Aaron never hit more than 50 home runs in a single season and reached 45 just once, in 1971. He hit 30 or more home runs in 14 seasons.
A Force for Civil Rights
Mr. Aaron, who was sometimes called Henry but was generally known to baseball fans as Hank or “Hammerin’ Hank,” for his long-ball power, grew up in Alabama and never forgot the jeers he received while playing in the South during the days of segregation.
When Mr. Aaron began playing in the minor leagues, it marked the first time that he had shared the field with White players. When the Braves assigned him to a team in Jacksonville, Fla., in the South Atlantic (or Sally) League, he repeatedly heard taunts from White spectators throughout the South–every racial slur in the book, Aaron’s probably heard it.
After he reached the major leagues in Milwaukee in 1954, Mr. Aaron quietly allied himself with