Amidst all the death Americans had to endure this winter, the passing of baseball great Henry “Hank” Aaron seemed to garner but a mere footnote in the back of the book. Hardly fitting for arguably the best ball player to ever play. “Hold on,” you say, “what about Babe Ruth?” Not close, since numbers rarely lie. Aaron played 21 seasons and belted 755 homeruns – which was 41 more than Ruth – amassed nearly 1,500 extra base hits and knocked in 2,297 teammates over his career, played mostly for the Milwaukee and then expansion Atlanta Braves.
This humble Mobile, Alabama, native grew up in the Depression Era and Jim Crow segregated South, when African Americans were wise not to seek the bright lights of fame. Young Hank used to toss balls up on their sharecropper shanty and run to the other side to make a diving catch. He was an extraordinary athlete in high school and began his career in the Negro Leagues before ascending to professional baseball in his early 20s.