PSA 6 1956 Topps #31 Hank Aaron White Back
Henry Louis Aaron (February 5, 1934 – January 22, 2021), nicknamed "Hammer" or "Hammerin' Hank", was an American professional baseball right fielder and designated hitter who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), from 1954 through 1976. Considered one of the greatest baseball players in history, he spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee / Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game's key career power-hitting records. He broke the long-standing MLB record for home runs held by Babe Ruth and remained the career leader for 33 years. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973 and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (RBIs) (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also third all-time for career hits (3,771) and fifth in runs scored (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron's ability as a hitter can be illustrated by his still having over 3,000 hits even without counting any of his home runs. He was an NL All-Star for 20 seasons and an AL All-Star for one season, and he holds the record for the most All-Star selections (25), while sharing the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, he won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.
Aaron was born and raised in and around Mobile, Alabama, one of seven children. He appeared briefly in the Negro American League and in minor league baseball before starting his major league career. By his final MLB season, Aaron was the last former Negro league baseball player on a major league roster. During his time in Major League Baseball, and especially during his run for the home run record, Aaron and his family endured extensive racist threats. His experiences fueled his activism during the civil rights movement.
Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1982 and Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1999, MLB introduced the Hank Aaron Award to recognize the top offensive players in each league. That same year, he was one of 30 baseball players elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002. After his retirement, Aaron held front office roles with the Atlanta Braves, including the senior vice president, and resided near Atlanta until his death in 2021.