Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory added another superstar to its roster of iconic statues on June 2nd when it unveiled a lifelike sculpture of Henry Aaron, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Civil Rights leader. Catch the replay below!
Aaron began his legendary MLB career on April 13th, 1954, with the Milwaukee Braves, which later became the Atlanta Braves. Aaron played for the Braves through the 1974 season and in 1975 he returned to Milwaukee as a member of the Brewers. He would play his final season with the Brewers in 1976He received the nickname “Hammerin’ Hank” for his incredible ability at the plate. Aaron still holds the MLB records for the most career RBIs (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). During his career, Aaron also broke Babe Ruth’s record for career home runs.
Throughout Aaron’s years in Major League Baseball he encountered racist threats, which played a role in his activism in the Civil Rights Movement. As he chased Babe Ruth’s home run record, Aaron and his family received death threats and hate mail, but he swung his way through hitting home run number 715 on April 8th, 1974.
“Henry would be pleased to know that his legacy is being honored with a sculpture in this museum,” said Billye Aaron. “He left such an immeasurable impact through both his baseball career and his work in the community, and this is a wonderful tribute from a company that he had a great relationship with.”
Outside of the diamond, Aaron left a lasting mark on the Civil Rights Movement. Throughout his lifetime, he used his platform to speak out against and fight racism. In 2005, Aaron received the Thurgood Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Aaron also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
The new sculpture features Aaron in a mid-1970s Atlanta uniform with a classic Braves ballcap with a red lowercase “a”. Aaron’s iconic number 44 is on the front and back of the uniform in blue with red stitching around the lettering.
“We are so excited to add Hank Aaron to our legendary statue lineup in the museum,” said Deana Lockman, Executive Director of Experiences at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. “With the courage he displayed during his playing career and the great philanthropic efforts he put forth, his legacy will not soon be forgotten.”
Aaron was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. He appeared in 25 All-Star games, won the NL MVP and was a World Series champion in 1957, won two batting titles and led the National League in home runs four times.
On permanent display at the museum is the bat that Aaron used to hit his 700th home run in July of 1973. Guests can also hold a game-used Aaron bat in the museum’s Hold a Piece of History exhibit. The A99 model is 35” in length and weighs 34.5 oz. A bat throne the museum made for Aaron is also on display in the new temporary exhibit, “Collection Curveballs”. The back of the throne features 11 full-size Aaron replica bats and the crown consists of 11 min-bats.
The museum will also be hosting members from the Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana on the day of the sculpture unveiling for a tour of the factory and special Hank Aaron programming. Additional programming for the organization will take place throughout the summer.
Aaron joins an elite sculpture lineup as he is just the seventh person honored with a sculpture at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Created by LifeFormations out of Cincinnati, the only other player sculptures in the museum are baseball legends Roberto Clemente, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Ken Griffey, Jr., and Derek Jeter.