Baseball lost a legend on Friday, with Henry Aaron dying at age 86. His place in history is secure as one of the greatest players and men the game has ever seen.
After playing 21 years with the Braves, and breaking MLB’s all-time home record, Aaron played the final two seasons of his career with the Brewers in Milwaukee, where he played with the Braves from 1954-65.
On July 20, 1976, the Angels lost to the Brewers, 6-2, at County Stadium in Milwaukee, but in the seventh inning Aaron took right-hander Dick Drago deep to left field. It was the 755th and final home run in his career.
“It wasn’t any big deal at the time. I didn’t know it would be his last,” Drago told Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune in 2007. “It was the middle of the season, two last-place teams.
“There are worse things than being associated with Henry Aaron.”
It was one of three home runs against the Angels in 1976. His blast on June 16 off Paul Hartzell was Aaron’s only career home run at Anaheim Stadium. At 42 years, 132 days old, Aaron is the second-oldest player to homer in Anaheim, behind only Carlton Fisk, and one of only four players 42 or older to homer at Angel Stadium.
Don Merry of the Long Beach Independent described Aaron’s farewell tour that day:
As was the case last year, his first in the American League, Aaron is the target of cordial greetings and robust applause.
“It makes an old guy feel good,” he said.
- Hank Aaron’s lasting impact is measured in more than home runs, writes Howard Bryant at ESPN.
- To fully honor the legacy of Hank Aaron, ugly truths can’t be ignored, says Joe Posnanski at The Athletic.
- Henry Aaron passes into history, writes Terence Moore at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Cory McCartney at Talking Chop remembers the iconic life of Aaron.
- Paul Newberry wrote the Associated Press obituary of Aaron.