Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron (born February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama) is a retired Major League Baseball (MLB) player whose career lasted 23 seasons from 1954 to 1976 with the Braves organization in the National League. At Atlanta's Fulton-County Stadium on Monday, April 8, 1974, Aaron hit his 715th career home run, which put him in first place on the all-time list ahead of Babe Ruth. He finished his career with 755 home runs, a record that stood for 33 years until San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds broke it by hitting his 756th career home run on August 7, 2007.
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- I never smile when I have a bat in my hands. That's when you've got to be serious. When I get out on the field, nothing's a joke to me. I don't feel like I should walk around with a smile on my face.
- As quoted in the July 31, 1956 issue of The Milwaukee Journal; reproduced in Baseball's Greatest Quotations : An Illustrated Treasury of Baseball Quotations and Historical Lore (2009) by Paul Dickson, p. 2
- Didn't come up here to read. Came up here to hit.
- Response to Yogi Berra, who told him to turn his bat around so he could see the trademark during the 1957 World Series, as quoted in Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes (2000) by Clifton Fadiman and André Bernard
- He was my favorite hitter. He could do almost anything he wanted to do at bat. He was a scientific hitter. I've seen him deliberately go for the home run late in a game and get it. Even if it meant pulling an outside pitch, he'd pull because he'd made up his mind to do it. Another thing I liked about him was the power he generated when he hit the ball between the infielders. This is a sure sign of a great hitter.
- On Stan Musial, as quoted in "The Scoreboard: Braves' Aaron Among Best of Bargains" by Les Biederman, in The Pittsburgh Press (August 30, 1967)
- I'm not trying to make anyone forget the Babe; but only to remember Hank Aaron.
- When asked how he felt breaking Babe Ruth's record of 714 home runs, as quoted in "I Just Want People to Remember Hank Aaron" by Tom Saladino (AP), in The Mexia Daily News (July 27, 1974)
- Guessing what the pitcher is going to throw is 80 percent of being a successful hitter. The other 20 percent is just execution. The mental aspects of hitting were especially important to me. I was strictly a guess hitter, which meant I had to have a thorough knowledge of every pitcher I came up against and develop a strategy for hitting him. My method was to identify the pitches a certain pitcher had and eliminate all but one or two and then wait for them. One advantage I had was quick wrists. Another advantage—and one that all good hitters have—was my eyesight. Sometimes I could read the pitcher's grip on the ball before he ever released it and be able to tell what pitch he was throwing. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn't throw it past me, none of them.
- From I Had a Hammer (1990) by Aaron, with Lonnie Wheeler; as reproduced in Hank Aaron (2007) by Jamie Poolos, p. 48
- There wasn't any pitcher I felt I couldn't get a hit off.
- As quoted in The Greatest Team of All Time: As Selected by Baseball's Immortals, from Ty Cobb to Willie Mays (1994), compiled by Nicholas Acoccella and Donald Dewey, p. 3
- When he was healthy, there was nobody better than Campanella as both a catcher and a hitter. But I played with Del Crandall a long time and he was a match for anybody defensively.
- As quoted in The Greatest Team of All Time, p. 3
Quotes about Aaron
- I would have to say myself, but it would not look good for me to say it. I just have confidence I am the best because I believe in myself. If I had to pick another player, it would be Hank Aaron. He does everything so well.
- In the decades to come, the memory of the scene might blur. But the memory of the sound will remain with everyone who was here. Not the sound of the cheers, or the sound of Henry Aaron saying "I'm thankful to God it's all over," but the sound of Henry Aaron's bat when it hit the baseball tonight... At home plate, surrounded by an ovation that came down around him as if it were a waterfall of appreciation, he was met by his teammates who attempted to lift him onto their shoulders. But he slipped off into the arms of his father Herbert Sr., and his mother Estella, who had hurried out of the special box for the Aaron family near the Braves' dugout. "I never knew," Aaron would say later," that my mother could hug so tight."
- Dave Anderson of The New York Times on Aaron hitting his record-setting 715th home run, quoted in Covering the Bases: The Most Unforgettable Moments in Baseball in the Words of the Writers and Broadcasters who Were There (1997) by Benedict Cosgrove ISBN 0-811-81150-6), p. 149