Fighting the Good Fight: Hank Aaron


Georgia Trend Magazine

Hank Aaron, baseball legend dies at the age of 86.

  On January 22, 2021 Hank Aaron passed away as baseball’s most memorable player on and off the field. A humble and grateful attitude, a willingness to fight against racial injustices, and a big hit solidified Hank Aaron’s baseball legacy.

  As the esteemed sports columnist, Lonnie Wheeler once wrote about Aaron’s character, “Hank Aaron’s excellence was not expelled in blinding bursts of energy, but rather played out, patiently and inexorably, over a whole generation.” 

  Wheeler’s views about Aaron show that he was always viewed as a humble home run machine who never flaunted his world class skill. Aaron has the current standing records for most RBIs (runs batted in), extra base hits, and total bases. The way that Aaron stayed modest and grateful through these accolades is another reason why he is baseball’s most memorable player.

  To formally reward Aaron for his constant battle against racism toward African-Americans in the United States, he was awarded the 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush. “The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne,” the former president remarked, “He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time.”

  Aaron was handed the Presidential Medal of Freedom for good reason, because Aaron played baseball in a segregated time in American history. As President Bush remarked, he had to fight through all forms of racism in order to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. This combined makes Aaron not only the most influential baseball player from the 60’s and 70’s, but the most memorable on and off the field. 

  Aaron’s legacy has impacted many at Sanderson High School. “Hank Aaron was of course a big hitter,” sophomore baseball player Mason Darlington reflected, “But he also was a role model off the field.”

  Today’s generation is not the only generation impacted by Aaron’s on and off the field heroism. Aaron’s commitment to anti-racism has influenced many of sports most iconic figures such as former Yankees pitcher and First-Ballot Hall-of-Famer Mariano Rivera, and basketball icon Lebron James.

  Aaron’s active fight against racism and grateful attitude proves that he did his best not only to make the world a better place, but also to make life easier for future generations. Through his first-ballot admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and receiving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, it is quite obvious that the Mobile, Alabama native truly did make a difference in not only baseball, but American society.