50 years after historic homer, Henry Aaron to get HOF statue

By Thomson Reuters Apr 8, 2024 | 12:36 PM

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will memorialize Henry Aaron with a statue in Cooperstown, N.Y., making the announcement on the 50th anniversary of his historic home run No. 715.

It was April 8, 1974, that Aaron, playing for the Braves, broke Babe Ruth’s longstanding homer record with his blast off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing in Atlanta. He went on to hit 755 career homers.

His personal collection was pledged to the Hall of Fame in 2010.

“The legacy of Hank Aaron has always been about so much more than just his incredible baseball achievements,” said Jane Forbes Clark, the Hall of Fame board chair. “His philanthropic vision, his support of youth empowerment efforts and his pioneering work as an executive have opened the doors of opportunity for millions throughout the United States and around the world. We are extremely privileged to care for and preserve his entire personal collection in Cooperstown, and this statue will stand forever as a tribute to an American hero.”

The statue will be unveiled May 23 in Cooperstown as part of the Hall of Fame Classic, a game that will feature more than two dozen former major leaguers. The Hall also will celebrate the history of Black baseball and its new exhibit, “The Souls of the Game: Voices of Black Baseball,” that weekend.

“I am profoundly grateful,” his widow, Billye Aaron, said. “My hope is that this recognition will serve as an inspiration to visitors to Cooperstown for generations to come.”

Aaron passed away Jan. 22, 2021, at age 86. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 after a 23-year career with the Braves and Milwaukee Brewers.

Barry Bonds (762 home runs) eclipsed Aaron’s home run total in 2007, but Aaron’s 2,297 RBIs remain the most in major league history.

Aaron’s achievements also were being feted Monday at the opening of “More Than Brave: The Life of Henry Aaron,” a new exhibit at the Atlanta History Center.

–Field Level Media