Hank Aaron : biography
Aaron’s minor league career began on November 20, 1951, when baseball scout Ed Scott signed Aaron to a contract on behalf of the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League.
Aaron now resides in a small community southwest of Atlanta, Georgia.
Awards and honors
In 1976, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
In his first year of eligibility (1982), Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1988 Aaron was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame for his time spent on the Milwaukee Braves.
In 1999, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s surpassing of Babe Ruth’s career home run mark of 714 home runs, and to honor Aaron’s contributions to baseball, MLB created the Hank Aaron Award, an annual award given to the hitters voted the most effective in each respective league. That same year, baseball fans named Aaron to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Hank Aaron on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans.
When the city of Atlanta was converting the 1996 Olympic Stadium into a new baseball stadium, many local residents hoped the stadium would be named for Hank Aaron. When the stadium was instead named Turner Field (after Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner), a section of Capitol Avenue running past the stadium was renamed Hank Aaron Drive. The stadium’s street number is 755, after Aaron’s total number of home runs.
2010 Georgia Trustee. Given by the Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with the Governor of Georgia, to individuals whose accomplishments and community service reflect the ideals of the founding body of Trustees, which governed the Georgia colony from 1732 to 1752.
After the 1976 season, he rejoined the Braves as an executive. On August 1, 1982, Hank Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, having received votes on 97.8 percent of the ballots, second only to Ty Cobb, who had received votes on 98.2% of the ballot in the inaugural 1936 Hall of Fame election. Aaron was then named the Braves’ vice president and director of player development. This made him one of the first minorities in Major League Baseball upper-level management.
Since December 1980, he has served as senior vice president and assistant to the Braves’ president. He is the corporate vice president of community relations for TBS, a member of the company’s board of directors and the vice president of business development for The Airport Network.
On January 21, 2007 Major League Baseball announced the sale of the Atlanta Braves. In that announcement, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also announced that Aaron would be playing a major role in the management of Braves, forming programs through major league baseball that will encourage the influx of minorities into baseball.Blum, Ronald. , Associated Press, May 16, 2007. , Associated Press, May 18, 2007.
On February 5, 1999, at his 65th birthday celebration, Major League Baseball announced the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award. The award was set to honor the best overall offensive performer in the American and National League. It was the first major award to be introduced in more than thirty years and had the distinction of being the first award named after a player who was still alive. Later that year, he ranked fifth on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
In July 2000 and again in July 2002, Aaron threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played at Turner Field and Miller Park, respectively.
On January 8, 2001, Hank Aaron was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton.
In June 2002, Aaron received, from President George W. Bush, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
His autobiography, I Had a Hammer was published in 1990. The book’s title is a play on his nickname, “The Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank”, and the title of the folk song “If I Had a Hammer”. Aaron now owns Hank Aaron BMW of south Atlanta in Union City, Georgia, where he gives an autographed baseball with every car sold. Aaron also owns Mini, Land Rover, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda dealerships throughout Georgia, as part of the Hank Aaron Automotive Group. Aaron sold all but the Toyota dealership in McDonough in 2007.