DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The baseball world lost a legend on Friday when it was announced that former home run king Hank Aaron died at the age of 86.
Among those who were offering their condolences was former President George W. Bush, who awarded Aaron the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
“Laura and I are saddened by the passing of Hank Aaron. The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him. Henry Louis Aaron was a joyful man, a loving husband to Billye, and a proud father of six children who will deeply miss him. Laura and I send them our condolences and our thanks for sharing this great man with our country,” Bush said in a statement.
"The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him." – President George W. Bush
Full statement: https://t.co/Fi02eppIRE
— George W. Bush Presidential Center (@TheBushCenter) January 22, 2021
Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1934. He started his baseball career in the Negro Leagues in 1951 with the Indianapolis Clowns. However, just three years later, he was making his debut in the Major Leagues with the Milwaukee Braves at 20 years old.
He would go on to play another 22 seasons, all with the Braves, moving with the franchise from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.
He finished his career with 755 home runs and a record 2,297 RBIs. He also racked up the most extra base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856) of any player in history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
After his career, he went on to serve as senior vice president and assistant to the Atlanta Braves president. Aaron was an ambassador for the game and the Braves throughout his post playing career.