Sep 2, 2013

Chasing The Dream

Hank Aaron: Chasing The Dream
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (2013)
The Hall of Fame has an entire wing dedicated to the man who I believe to be the greatest baseball player who ever lived: "Hammerin" Hank Aaron.

Hank Aaron should have been the first person to be unanimously inducted into the Hall Of Fame.  He did get in on his first year of eligibility in 1982 when he was named on 97.83% of the ballots.  Quite frankly, I feel like the sportswriters who refused to name him on their ballots should have had their Hall Of Fame voting privileges revoked, because there is no valid excuse whatsoever to have not selected him.

When Aaron retired, he was the all-time home run king.  Many fans (myself included) argue that he is still the legitimate all-time home run king, as his achievements were earned, not accomplished as a result of steroid abuse.  Setting that aside, his career accomplishments tend to get overshadowed by the 755 home runs he smashed in his career.  Most of the fans I've spoken to over the years didn't realize that he was a member of the 3,000 hit club, let alone that he is the all-time hits leader for a right handed batter and the third most overall (behind only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose).  Here's a short list of Aaron's other achievements:
  • Most hits by a right handed batter: 3,771
  • Most intentional walks by a right handed batter: 293
  • Most career extra-base hits: 1,467
  • Most career RBI: 2,297
  • Most career total bases: 6,856
  • Most seasons with 100 or more runs: 15
  • Most consecutive seasons with 150 or more hits: 17
  • Most seasons as a member of the All-Star Team: 21
  • Most All-Star Game appearances: 25  (there were two All-Star Games played per season from 1959-1962)
Hank Aaron's uniform (I don't remember what year or game this is from).
Hank Aaron's championship ring from the 1957 World Series.
The NL MVP award that Hank Aaron won in 1967.
Hank Aaron got his 3000th hit on May 17, 1970 off of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Wayne SimpsonSimpson was an All-Star that season who went on to pitch for the Phillies in 1975Aaron has the third most career hits of all time, behind only Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.
Hank tied The Babe on April 4th, 1974 when he hit a three run homer off of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jack Billingham.
This was the last base Hank Aaron touched before passing Babe Ruth for the most career home runs of all time.  It took place on April 8th, 1974 in a game between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.  Aaron's record breaking homer was hit off of Al Downing in the bottom of the 4th to tie the score at 3-3.
This is the ball Hank Aaron hit for his last career home run.  It was hit on July 20th, 1976 when he was the designated hitter for the Milwaukee Brewers.  It was hit off of California Angels pitcher Dick Drago, whose name sounds like someone who would challenge Hulk Hogan for the WWF Championship in the 80's.