Baseball Great “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron
Each year, April 23rd, is celebrated as “Home Run Day”. This day commemorates Hank Aaron’s first home run in 1954.
“Hammerin’ Hank” was born in Mobile, Alabama and grew up picking cotton with his family which is believed to have strengthened his hands so he could hit more home runs. His family couldn’t afford baseball equipment, so he practiced by hitting bottle caps with sticks. He would make his own bats and balls out of materials he found on the streets. Quite the athlete, Aaron was equally talented on the football field and turned down several scholarships to pursue baseball.
Thru a long and illustrious career on baseballs fields across the country, Aaron cemented his place in sports history on April 8, 1974 in Atlanta. With a record over 53,000 people in attendance, Aaron hit career home run number 715 and surpassed Babe Ruth. On July 20, 1976, Aaron hit his 755th and final home run and in 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The story of Hammerin’ Hank is rumored to be coming to the big screen and will be based on Howard Bryant’s book The Last Hero: The Life Story of Henry Aaron and “will follow the right fielder’s chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record from 1972 to 1974.”
Aaron, though one of the best known, is not the only Southerner to leave or leaving his imprint on the game.
Some other baseball greats hailing from the south include:
Rudy York, Willie Mays – Alabama
Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Frank Thomas, Adam Wainright – Georgia
Chipper Jones, Steve Carlton – Florida
Josh Hamilton – North Carolina
Shoeless Joe Jackson – South Carolina
Vida Blue, Will Clark, Chuck Finley – Louisiana
For more, see our Southern Sports Icon Pinterest Page
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