Little Bits of History

Hammerin’ Hank

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2010

Hank Aaron

February 29, 1972: Major League Baseball signs its first player to a $200,000 contract. Hank Aaron signed on with the Atlanta Braves and continued his legendary hammering. After playing baseball in high school and winning championships, Aaron signed a $10,000 contract with the Boston Braves, a minor league team, playing second base. He was named Rookie of the Year. He was sent to the Jacksonville Tars to break the color barrier in the South Atlantic League. Enduring racial slurs and threats, he led the league by hammering in 115 runs on 208 hits. He was MVP that year.

On April 13, 1954, Aaron made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Braves without a hit. Two days later, he got his first hit and by the end of the season he had 13 homers – not hitting below 20 homers in a season again for the next 20 years. As Hammerin’ Hank kept driving the ball out of the park, his stats kept getting more impressive. On July 3, 1960 he hit his 200th home run and by April 19, 1963 he was up to 300.

Between the 1965-66 season, the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta. By April 27, 1971 he was up to 600 homers. He ended the 1973 season at 713 home runs, one short of Babe Ruth’s record. At the beginning of the 1974 season, despite slanderous letters, bigotry run amok, and death threats, Hank Aaron played on. Management kept him from playing in the opening series because it was an away set of games with the Cincinnati Reds. They hoped for his tying hit and hopefully his record breaking home run to be on the home field. He tied Ruth with his first at bat, but did not break the record on that day. On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron became the home run record holder.

At the end of the season, Aaron was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers where he finished out his baseball careers. His total home run count is 755, well past Babe Ruth’s 714.

“Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.” – Ted Williams

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too.” – Roy Campanella

“What is both surprising and delightful is that spectators are allowed, and even expected, to join in the vocal part of the game…. There is no reason why the field should not try to put the batsman off his stroke at the critical moment by neatly timed disparagements of his wife’s fidelity and his mother’s respectability.” – George Bernard Shaw

“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.” – Dave Barry

Also on this day, in 1584 the first Leap Day was held.

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One Response

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  1. Anonymous said, on February 4, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    it helped me with research

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