One of the Baseball Greats is Gone

It’s been said that it is the acts of kindness that you perform in life that define you, not the work you did. However, there are some who are remembered fondly for both. Hank Aaron was one of those people. Sadly, Aaron died today at the age of 86. Baseball’s true homerun king (I won’t acknowledge Barry Bonds’ steroid-fueled record), as well as the sport’s leader in RBIs and total bases. But Hank Aaron meant so much more than some statistical records in a book.

Aaron’s true legacy lies in what he meant to the efforts to integrate sports and society at large. Vin Scully’s call when Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s homerun record always sticks with me: “A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South.” Just imagine how powerful that moment must have been. To be in Atlanta, Georgia, where blacks were oppressed and hated for so many years and have everyone honoring a black man would’ve been incredible.

It’s very sad that “Hammerin’ Hank” has passed away, but we’re left with a plethora of great memories from his playing days and even more from the rest of his days, where he showed undying drive to make sure that society was an equal place for everyone.

He said, “I don’t want to be remembered as someone who hit 700 homeruns or had a .300 batting average, but as someone who did a little bit more…to help mankind.” Imagine if everyone did a little bit more to help mankind. Just imagine where we’d be if we took his example.

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