40 Years Ago Today, Hank Aaron Broke Babe Ruth’s Home Run Record

Hank Aaron hit the 715th home run of his stellar baseball career 40 years ago today. It was the home run that broke Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. (AP file photo)
Hank Aaron hit the 715th home run of his stellar baseball career 40 years ago today. It was the home run that broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. (AP file photo)

Today, the baseball community will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run, a home run that broke Babe Ruth’s all-time record and made Al Downing a trivia question answer (who gave up the 715th home run to Hank Aaron?).

The celebration shouldn’t stop there. In my opinion, Aaron will always be baseball’s home run king; Barry Bonds has the record, Aaron has the respect. But his entire career should be celebrated, not just a single home run on April 8, 1974. He was a complete player, what is called a five-tool player. He could do it all, and he did. To designate him simply as a player who hit a lot of home runs is to ignore all the other things he did.

But that was just on the field. During his chase of Ruth’s home run record, there was no joy for Aaron, who had to stay in hiding as he got closer to breaking the record because of death threats. It was a moment he enjoyed as much as it was a moment he endured. Breaking the record wasn’t as much a celebration as it was a relief.

The observance today should also include what Aaron has meant to the game, both during his playing days and now in retirement from the game, as well as how he has used his influence for the good of the game and for others. His Chasing the Dream Foundation is a perfect example of his impact on society as well as baseball.

Today is the anniversary of one of baseball’s biggest moments. Certainly, it should be noted. But it hopefully will serve to trigger thoughts of the player and his entire career, as well as the man and the impact he has had outside the game.

Happy anniversary, Hank.

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SOURCE: Tommy Hicks 
AL.com

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