Henry (Hank) Aaron 1934 -
Henry Aaron was born on Feb. 5, 1934 in Mobile, Alabama, one day before Babe Ruth's 39th
birthday. He was the 3rd child of Estella and Herbert Aaron. He was born in
Alabama during the Great Depression as the son of a poor boilermaker's helper.
His father was happy to support the five of them with $75 to $80 a week.
As a youngster Hank stayed out of trouble because he was constantly
playing baseball. Baseball equipment was not easy to get so he practiced in his
yard with a ball of tightly wound rags. When he finally got a hold of a rubber
ball, he used one of his mother's broomsticks to smack it against the side of
When Hank was growing up in the 1930's, the schools were
racially segregated so Henry, who was an African-American, went to an all-black
grammar school. After grammar school he went to Mobile's Central High School.
They didn't have a baseball team so he joined the fast-pitch softball team.
During his spare time, he played baseball for a local sandlot
Hank's boyhood hero was Jackie Robinson. By this time in high
school, Hank knew he wanted to be a baseball player. Then one day during a
league softball game, the talented teenager was approached by Ed Scott, who was
a scout for the Mobile Black Bears. Hank began to play with the Bears for $10 a
game until he turned 18 and then he signed with the Indianapolis Clowns, of the
Negro American League, to play
for $200 per month. Indianapolis played 8-10 games a week which was tiring, but
it paid off when a scout for the Braves, Dewey Griggs came to talk to Hank about
moving up the big leagues.
They immediately set up a contract and moved
him to their minor league system. After only playing 18 games there, Hank made
the All-Star team. The same season Hank won the Sally league's Most Valuable
Player award he met a woman named Barbara Lucas who lived near the ballpark.
Hank started dating her and within a few months, they became engaged and then
were married on Oct. 13, 1953...shortly after baseball season ended.
March 13, 1954, the Braves veteran outfielder Bobby Thompson broke his ankle
sliding into third. The next day Hank Aaron was called up to play left field.
Hank's rookie season had been doing pretty good until he broke an ankle sliding
into third base. Hank would finish the season on the bench.
In 1955, Hank
was moved from left to right field, where he would play during most of his
career. He was the fifth best hitter in the National League by numbers he put up
along with a league-leading 37 doubles.
Smashing the ball would become a
habit for Hank; he would drive in 100-plus runs in 11 different seasons and
would play in the All-Star game a honorable 24 times. The Braves played
inconsistently, but at the end of the 1957 season they found themselves in the
driver's seat. The Braves could win the pennant with one more win. It was in the
11th inning with a 2-2 tie with a runner on base and two outs. Hank Aaron came
to the plate and drilled a slow curve ball over the center field fence, giving
the Braves the pennant. This was Hank's 109th home run and it was one of his
The Braves then moved on to play the Yankees in the
World Series. The Braves came out on top at the end winning the series 4 games
to 3. After the 1957 season, a sad event occurred when Barbara Aaron gave birth
to twin boy's, one of whom died a few days later.
In May, 1970 Hank
reached the milestone of 3000 hits. At this same time he had 570 of the record
714 home runs. At the end of the 1971 season his marriage began to gradually
come apart, and he was divorced that winter.
Almost two years later Hank
married Billye Williams of Atlanta. His career was entering his last years, but
before it was over he set the home run record at a total of 755 home runs. This
is what he is probably most remembered for today.