Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron Hits 500th Home Run
On July 14, 1968, Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer Hank Aaron hits career home run 500 off of Giants pitcher Mike McCormick.
The “500 Club” for players with 500 or more home runs was a very exclusive club when Aaron joined in 1968, being host to only a few members including Babe Ruth (1929), Jimmie Foxx (1940), Mel Ott (1945), Ted Williams (196), Willie Mays (1965), Mickey Mantle (May 14, 1967) and Eddie Matthews (July 14, 1967).
Aaron hit career home run 500 exactly one year to the day that Matthews did, marking the first and only time two players had hit their career home run 500 on the same day in different years.
Henry Aaron also known as "Hammerin' Hank Aaron," is a retired American baseball right fielder that played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1954 through 1976. Aaron spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) before playing for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American League (AL) for the final two years of his career. Aaron is considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on their "100 Greatest Baseball Players" list.
After playing with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League and in the minor leagues, Aaron started his major league career in 1954. In his final season, he was the last Negro League baseball player on a major league roster.
His most notable achievement was breaking the career home run record set by Babe Ruth. During his career, Aaron performed at a consistently high level for an extended period of time. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
Aaron made the All-Star team every year from 1955 to 1975 and won three Gold Glove Awards. In 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, while that same year, the Braves won the World Series.
Aaron's consistency helped him to establish a number of important hitting records. He holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), the most career extra base hits (1,477), and the most career total bases (6,856).
Aaron is also in the top five for career hits with 3,771 (third), behind only Detroit Tigers Ty Cobb (4,191) and Cincinnati Reds Pete Rose (4,256) and runs with 2,174, which is tied for fourth with Babe Ruth, and only behind San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds (2,227), Cobb (2,246) and Oakland Athletics Rickey Henderson (2,295).
Aaron is one of only four players to have at least seventeen seasons with 150 or more hits, the other three are New York Yankees Derek Jeter, Rose and Cobb.
He also is in second place in home runs (755), to Bonds (762) and at-bats (12,364) to Rose (14,053) and in third place in games played (3,298), behind only Red Sox Carl Yastrzemski (3,308) and Rose (3,562). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game's key career power hitting records outright, including most total bases with 6,856, most RBI’s with 2,297, extra-base hits 1,477.
Aaron is also the only player with 700 home runs and 3,000 hits, and one of only two players with 600 home runs and 3,000 hits, the other being Willie Mays. He is also one of only four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, the others being Mays, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro.
Aaron finished his career with .305 batting average, 25 All-Star game appearances, and two NL Batting titles in 1956 and 1959, and was a four-time NL home run champ in 1957, 1963, 1966-1967.
The Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers retired his no. 44 jersey. He was named to Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.
Aaron was inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1982, on the first ballot in which he appeared, with 97.83 percent of the vote.