Keep on Hammerin



This past Valentines day, there were a lot of people who struck out and a lot of people who hit massive home runs. However, none of those home runs compare to Henry “Hammerin Hank” Aarons’ record breaking 715th.  While Barry Bonds eventually took over as the (disputed) home run king, the history Hank Aaron made on and off the field along the way will never be forgotten.

While home run 715 is most definitely his most important, he had some historical home runs during his career. On September 23, 1957, Aaron hit the first ever pennant winning walk-off home run. Aaron went on to hit 40 more home runs after 715, and is still to this day the only player to hit over 750 home runs without the use of steroids.

The home run title was not the only record Aaron broke in 1974. According to the Guinness World Records book, he broke the record for most mail received in a year, receiving over 900,000 letters. Why in the world did Aaron receive so much mail? Well, it is really quite simple. Many MLB fans were quite upset over Aaron breaking the record previously held by Ruth. Because of this, the majority of these letters Aaron received were hate mail or even death threats.

There is no question that Hank Aaron changed the game of baseball, but it was at the local level that he will always be remembered. In 1994, Aaron started his “Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation” which continues to supply scholarships to underprivileged children to this day. Originally the foundation gave out 755 scholarships a year (the number of career home runs hit by Aaron), but as time has passed the foundation has added to that number.

With the recent passing of Aaron, players and fans have reached out to show their support for the legend that is Hammerin Hank. In fact, according to 11 Alive News some fans are pushing for a name change in his honor; the Atlanta Hammers. Instead of “Chop On,” the chant would change to “Hammer On.” With the recent push to change the name to be more politically correct, it is hard to come up with anything that has the same ring to it as the Atlanta Hammers. Everyone seems to agree that Aaron should never be forgotten.

This might be the greatest time to recognize the importance of Hank Aaron. Spring training is set to begin next week. Baseball might not be the home run heavy game that it is today without Aaron. This month is recognized as Black History Month. Aaron assisted Jackie Robinson with breaking the color barrier in baseball, and did so with the max level of dignity and class.

Everyone hits a home run or two in life. Likewise, people are bound to strike out throughout life. The world recognizes Aaron for all of his home runs, both on and off the field. However, the biggest lesson to learn from Aaron is that he never let the fear of striking out keep him from playing the game. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from swinging for a home run.