April 23 ~ Keep Swinging Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America

"My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging." ~ Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron

On this night in 1954, baseball great Hank Louis Aaron tagged his first major league hit off a Vic Raschi fastball... of course it was a home run.

A low-key and humble man, Aaron overcame poverty in Mobile, Alabama and racism as a ball player. Throughout his 23-year career, Atlanta Brave #44 kept swinging.

"The pitcher has got only a ball. I've got a bat," Aaron once explained. "So the percentage in weapons is in my favor and I let the fellow with the ball do the fretting."

Pitcher Curt Simmons once said, "Throwing a fastball to Henry Aaron is like trying to sneak the sun past a rooster."

On April 8, 1974 in Fulton County Stadium, Hammerin' Hank took another healthy cut at a L.A. Dodger pitch and connected... Historically breaking Babe Ruth's longstanding home run record... swinging his 715th round-tripper. "I never want them to forget Babe Ruth," the Atlanta "Home Run King" said. "I just want them to remember Aaron."

A lifetime .305 hitter, Aaron finished his career two years later with a record 755 home runs and 2,297 RBIs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

On the night in 2007 that Barry Bonds broke his home run record, Aaron said, "I move over and offer my best wishes to Barry...My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams.

Hank AaronKeep swinging... and watch the connection!