Dodgers' pioneer paved way for home run king to become part of baseball history
ATLANTA -- When Commissioner Bud Selig visited Turner Field on April 8 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, he credited Aaron with continuing the legacy of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.
"When you think of the impact, just like the impact Jackie Robinson had, here was a man breaking the most famous sports record in the world set by Babe Ruth," Selig said of Aaron's historic achievement. "We were lucky. Baseball was really lucky. You had this thoughtful, sensitive, really decent person [breaking the record]. So we were the ones who were lucky. He is what you hope an icon will be, but often isn't."
As the Braves spend 2014 celebrating the greatest player to ever wear their uniform, they will spend Tuesday in Philadelphia wearing No. 42 to honor Robinson, the man who paved the way for Aaron to etch his name into baseball history.
Like Robinson before him, Aaron overcame the adversity of racial prejudice as he chased Ruth's home run record. Forty years later, players like Robinson and Aaron are remembered not only for their performance on the field, but for their character.
"I believe Hank Aaron was ideally suited to become Babe Ruth's heir," Selig said. "… He is the living embodiment of the American spirit."