Today saw the passing of baseball legend Hank Aaron. With 755 home runs, 3,771 hits, 2,297 R.B.I., 6,856 total bases, his athletic achievement is extraordinary on its own. But it’s even more remarkable when you consider the backdrop of racial injustice that plagued him throughout his career. Notably, when he was on the verge of besting Babe Ruth’s record 714 home runs in 1974, he received hate mail and death threats from baseball fans who couldn’t stomach seeing a Black man supplant their white hero.
To honor #44, MLB featured a mini-documentary about Aaron on its YouTube channel, following his life as a child growing up in the thick of racial tensions in segregated Mobile, Alabama, a teen inspired by Jackie Robinson to go pro, a player in the minor leagues on one of the first integrated teams, and then a major league athlete who played for 23 seasons in the MLB, 21 of which were with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves.
The documentary features remembrances from Aaron’s colleagues and other pros, as well as interview clips with Aaron himself reflecting on his life and sport. “I think that people can look at me and say, you know, he was a great baseball player, but he was even a greater human being,” he says toward the end of the film.
The MLB wrote on the YouTube post, “MLB is devastated by the passing of Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, one of the greatest players and people in the history of our game. He was 86.”
The MLB Network will pay tribute to Aaron in more than 15 hours of programming consisting of specials, classic games and signature studio programming:
MLB Network Hank Aaron Programming:
Saturday, Jan. 23:
1:00 p.m. – Studio 42 with Bob Costas featuring Hank Aaron from 2010
2:00 p.m. – 1957 World Series Highlights
3:00 p.m. – All-Time Games: 1971 MLB All-Star Game
5:30 p.m. – Hank Aaron: Brave Hero
6:00 p.m. – MLB Tonight
7:00 p.m. - Major League Legends: The Hammer of Hank Aaron
Sunday, Jan. 24:
9:00 a.m. – Baseball’s Seasons: 1974
10:00 a.m. – 1957 World Series Highlights
11:00 a.m. – All-Time Games: 1971 MLB All-Star Game
1:30 p.m. – Hank Aaron: Brave Hero
2:00 p.m. – Major League Legends: The Hammer of Hank Aaron
3:00 p.m. – Studio 42 with Bob Costas featuring Hank Aaron from 2010
5:00 p.m. – MLB Network Special: Cooperstown – The Class of Baseball
6:00 p.m. – MLB Tonight: Week in Review