Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron (born February 5, 1934), nicknamed “Hammer”, or “Hammerin’ Hank”, is a retired American professional baseball player. He was a Major League Baseball (MLB) right fielder 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. In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on their “100 Greatest Baseball Players” list. He held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years, and he still holds several MLB offensive records. 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 was born in Mobile, Alabama and grew up in the area. He had seven siblings, including Tommie Aaron, who later played with Hank in MLB. Hank Aaron declined football scholarship offers to pursue professional baseball. He briefly appeared in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career. Aaron played late in Negro league history; by his final MLB season, he was the last Negro league baseball player on a major league roster.
Aaron holds the record for the most seasons as an All-Star (21) and for the most All-Star Game selections (25); he was an All-Star from 1955 through 1975 (MLB had 2 All-Star games a year from 1959 to 1962). He is tied with Stan Musial and Willie Mays for the most All-Star Games played (24). He was named to the National League All-Star roster 20 times and the American League All-Star roster one time. He also won three NL Gold Glove Awards. In 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. He holds MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBI) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also in the top five for career hits (3,771) and runs (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least seventeen seasons with 150 or more hits. He also is in second place in home runs (755) and at-bats (12,364), and in third place in games played (3,298). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game’s key career power hitting records.
Since his retirement, Aaron has held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1999, MLB introduced the Hank Aaron Award to recognize the top offensive players in each league. He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. When Barry Bonds broke Aaron’s career home run record in 2007, a surprise congratulatory message from Aaron appeared on the Jumbotron at AT&T Park. He was named a 2010 Georgia Trustee by the Georgia Historical Society in recognition of accomplishments that reflect the ideals of Georgia’s founders. Aaron resides near Atlanta, Georgia.