Prolific home run hitter, MLB great Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron
By JARRETTE FELLOWS, JR.
One of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron, the fabled slugger and second most prolific home run hitter of all time, died Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86 years old.
Aaron eclipsed the all-time homerun record of 714 by Babe Ruth that had stood for 33 years. The homer record was Aaron’s most notable achievement and broke what had been considered the most cherished accolade in American sports history — the MLB all-time homerun record — by Ruth, among the most idolized of American sports icons.
Aaron, who was born Feb. 5, 1934 in Mobile, Ala., broke into the Major Leagues on April 13, 1954, at age 20, was widely known by the nickname, Hank, who himself was surpassed in round-trippers by Barry Bonds with 762 homers. Aaron was a member of a prolific generation of power hitters of his era in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, that included Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Mike Schmidt, Carl Yastremski, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, and Ed Matthews.
A newer generation of sluggers includes Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Jim Thome*, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz comprised a younger fraternity of sluggers.
Aaron played 23 seasons — all of them for the Milwaukee Braves/Brewers, later renamed the Atlanta Braves, when the team moved south to Atlanta, Ga.
Homerun record’s herculean consequences
Hank never once went on the then-disabled list after his rookie season ended three weeks early because of a broken ankle. In the latter years of his career when he closed on Ruth’s all-time record, the FBI informed him his daughter was the target of a kidnapping plot. For nearly three years he required a police escort and an FBI detail for himself and his family.
He finished the 1973 season with 713 home runs — one shy of tying Ruth’s record — and believed he would be assassinated in the offseason. He had received enough letters to convince him so. He received death threats from 1972 to 1974—all for being a hero of the American pastime and electrifying hitter.
His all-time stats include 755 homeruns, 3, 771 hits, 2,297 RBIs, 240 stolen bases a .305 career batting average, and 2,174 runs scored. His homerun prowess included 20 homers for 20 straight seasons. Additionally, Aaron was a 25x All Star
Major League Baseball has suffered a grievous loss in recent months. The list includes Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn, Tom Seaver, Whitey Ford, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Al Kaline.
Hank Aaron is survived by his wife, Billye; two sons, Larry and Henry Jr.; and three daughters, Dorinda, Gaile, and Ceci.
COVID claims film star Tommy 'Tiny' Lister
Film star Tommy “Tiny” Lister, famous for playing intimidating, but lovable tough guys in films like “Friday,” died Dec. 10 from complications of Covid-19, according to his manager, Cindy Cowan.
Lister had been experiencing COVID symptoms in the days leading up to his death, Cowan told CNN. “Tiny began feeling sick a week ago, but he got worse quickly — couldn’t breathe and felt very weak,” she said.
Cowan added he was supposed to work on a movie set last weekend but had to cancel due to his breathing difficulties, and he also canceled a Zoom appearance for a TV festival, according to TMZ. Cowan said calls to check on him went unanswered.
According to TMZ, LA County sheriff’s performed a welfare check on the actor where they made their way into his apartment and found him deceased.
Most people knew Lister as the character Deebo from the “Friday” films featuring rapper/actor, Ice Cube.
Tommy "Tiny" Lister