Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hank Aaron Hit #715 Forty-One Years Ago Today

It is a sultry day in Atlanta today, so much so that the upper 80's heat may break a record. If so it isn't the only hot record to be set on this date.  Forty-one years ago, Hank Aaron swung at a 4th inning pitch from Al Downing of the LA Dodgers. "Hammerin' Hank" sent it sailing for a home run in front of a record sellout crowd at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. It was his 715th career home run, one more than Babe Ruth's record set in 1935.

In 1976 Aaron retired from baseball with 755 home runs. That record would stand another forty years until broken in 2007 by San Francisco Giants slugger, Barry Bonds. Aaron joined the Braves management team after leaving the playing field. It's a job he still holds along with records for the most career RBI's (2297), the most career total bases (6856) and the most career extra bases hit (1577).

Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was demolished and replaced by a new stadium for the 1996 Olympic Games. That stadium was reconfigured as Turner Field, the Home of the Braves. And across the parking lot from Turner Field you can visit the holy ground of Aaron's record-breaking homer. There a section of home run fence and wall from the evening of April 8, 1974 still stands. It's a fitting shrine to an Atlanta hero, a gentleman, and one of baseball's finest.

Plaque photo, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY, San Francisco Public Radio
Wikipedia, Hank Aaron entry, Hank Aaron page

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