MILWAUKEE - Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, who spent 14 years as a member of the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers, passed away today at the age of 86.
Aaron is survived by his wife, Billye. Lary Aaron, one of his six children, has served as a scout for the Brewers since 1994. Hank’s younger brother, Tommie, who passed away in 1984, was a first baseman/outfielder with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves from 1962-63, 1965 and 1968-71.
“On behalf of everyone at the Milwaukee Brewers, we are devastated to hear of the passing of Hank Aaron,” said Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio. “Hank will forever be remembered as one of the elite players in the history of our game and, more importantly, as a man who handled himself with grace and dignity throughout his life. His contributions to the game of baseball and the community of Milwaukee created a legacy that is cherished and will never be forgotten.
“Hank returned to Milwaukee every year in support of his Chasing the Dream Foundation - among my most special moments over the past 16 years was the time spent together with Hank, Bud Selig, Bob Uecker and Robin Yount, iconic members of Milwaukee’s baseball heritage, who were all close friends. It was important to Hank and Billye to return to Milwaukee regularly, a place that has always been special to them. We will miss Hank very much, and our deepest condolences go to his wife, Billye, son, Lary, and all of his family.”
In honor of Aaron, the Brewers will wear the uniform number “44” on their sleeves throughout the 2021 season.
“We lost an icon today, one of the greatest athletes to ever to wear a uniform,” said Brewers Hall of Famer Bob Uecker. “Wisconsin lost a legendary figure, and I lost a great teammate and friend. I will always cherish my time with Hank, and with Billye - all the laughs we shared, and all the unforgettable stories. Hank loved Wisconsin, and we loved him back.”
“Of all those that I played with, Hank was the biggest influence on my career,” said fellow Hall of Famer Robin Yount. “The way that Hank, the greatest player of all-time, played the game, carried himself on and off the field, and remained humble, made the greatest impact on me as a 19-year-old. None of that ever changed in the 45 years since Hank retired. He was a great man and his friendship will be sorely missed.”
Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 after batting .305 with 755 HR, 2,297 RBI and 240 stolen bases in 3,298 games with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1954-74) and Milwaukee Brewers (1975-76). The 25-time All-Star outfielder became Major League Baseball’s all-time home run leader on April 8, 1974 vs. Los Angeles with #715 - a 2-run shot off Al Downing - surpassing Babe Ruth. His 755 career home runs would be the most in the history of the game until 2007 (Barry Bonds - 762 HR).
“It is truly an honor to earn the award bearing the name of one of the true legends of the game,” said two-time Hank Aaron Award winner Christian Yelich. “Hank was an inspiration to many people, young and old, and will always be remembered for his incredible contributions on and off the field.”
Aaron is the all-time Major League leader in RBI (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856) and ranks among the top four in home runs (2nd, 755), at-bats (2nd, 12,364), hits (3rd, 3,771), games (3rd, 3,298) and runs (T4th, 2,174). He was named 1957 National League MVP, was a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a two-time batting champion.
Aaron appeared in 222 games as a Brewer (.232, 22 HR, 95 RBI). His final home run came on July 20, 1976 vs. California with a solo shot off Dick Drago at County Stadium. He is a member of the Brewers/Braves Walk of Fame (2001), Milwaukee Braves Wall of Honor (2012) and Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor (2014). A statue bearing his likeness was erected outside the ballpark in 2001.