US Presidents honor Hammerin' Hank

January 23rd, 2021

The extent of Hank Aaron’s impact on the sports world and America at large was immediately evident from the tributes that poured in after the National Baseball Hall of Famer died Friday at 86.

U.S. President Joe Biden and several of his predecessors were among the many who honored Hammerin' Hank. Here are their tributes to the baseball icon.

Joe Biden, 46th U.S. President

The newly-inaugurated president released a statement on Aaron:

"When I watched Henry Aaron play baseball, I knew I was watching someone special. It wasn’t just about watching a gifted athlete master his craft on the way to a Hall of Fame career as one of the greatest to ever play the game. It was that each time Henry Aaron rounded the bases, he wasn’t just chasing a record, he was helping us chase a better version of ourselves."

Read Biden's full statement here.

Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President

Obama shared this message via his personal Twitter account:

"Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we’ve ever seen and one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. [Former First Lady] Michelle [Obama] and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Aaron family and everyone who was inspired by this unassuming man and his towering example."

Obama also released an official statement honoring Aaron.

George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President

Bush, who presented Aaron with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, released the following statement via the George W. Bush Presidential Center:

"[Former First Lady] Laura [Bush] and I are saddened by the passing of Hank Aaron. The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him. Henry Louis Aaron was a joyful man, a loving husband to Billye, and a proud father of six children who will deeply miss him. Laura and I send them our condolences and our thanks for sharing this great man with our country."

Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President

"With the passing of Hank Aaron, baseball has lost one of its greatest heroes, America has lost an inspiring role model and philanthropist, and I have lost a wonderful friend," Clinton said in an official statement.

Read Clinton's full statement here.

Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President

Carter, a Georgia native and longtime Braves fan, released this statement through The Carter Center:

"[Former First Lady] Rosalynn [Carter] and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend Henry Aaron. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us. A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come. We send our love to [Aaron's widow] Billye and their family and to Hank's many fans throughout the world."