Hank Aaron’s Life Remembers During Funeral Service, Travel To Where He Reached No.715
ATLANTA – The Hammer made one last trip to where it reached # 715.
After an almost three-hour funeral service on Wednesday featuring two former presidents, a longtime baseball commissioner and a civil rights icon, the hearse carrying the body of Hank Aaron made a detour by road bearing his name to drive through the old Atlanta-Fulton site. County stadium.
It was there that Aaron broke an iconic record on April 8, 1974, eclipsing the home run record set by Babe Ruth.
The stadium imploded in 1997 after the Braves moved across the street to Turner Field, replaced by a parking lot for the new baseball stadium. But the old stadium’s outer retaining wall remains, along with a modest, indescribable midfield exposure that marks the exact spot where the circuit record broke the left-field fence.
A constant stream of baseball fans have stopped by the site – consisting of a small section of fence, a wall, and a baseball-shaped sign that reads “Hank Aaron Home Run 715″ – since ” Hammerin ‘Hank’ passed away on Friday at the age of 86. The fence is covered in flowers, notes and baseball memorabilia.
Fittingly, Aaron’s funeral procession passed the exhibit on their way to his burial at South-View Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest black cemetery and resting place of prominent civil rights leaders such as John Lewis and Julian Bond.
The line of police-escorted cars drove past the golden-domed state capital of Georgia, passed under the tower that displayed the Olympic torch during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, and pulled out. headed to Hank Aaron Drive.
At the foot of a hill, the procession took a sharp right turn towards the site of the old stadium. Aaron’s flower-covered hearse and all the vehicles that followed looped through the circular parking lot, which covers the cookie-cutter stadium footprint that became the home of the Braves after their move from Milwaukee in 1966.
It was a touching tribute that closed several days of remembrance for one of baseball’s great players. The Braves held a memorial service on Tuesday at their current home on the outskirts of Truist Park.
The funeral service touched Aaron’s life beyond the field as much as his unprecedented baseball accomplishments, honoring his business acumen, charitable giving and unwavering determination to provide educational opportunities for the underprivileged.
“His whole life has been a home run,” former President Bill Clinton said. “Now he’s rounded up the basics. “
Clinton said the two became close friends after Aaron backed him during the 1992 presidential campaign when he won a narrow victory in Georgia. Clinton was the last Democrat to win the state until Joe Biden edged out Donald Trump in November.
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“For the rest of his life, he never let me forget who was responsible for the victory,” Clinton joked, drawing a few laughs during the rather grim ceremony. “Hank Aaron never bragged about anything – except wearing Georgia for me in 1992.”
Bud Selig, who was Commissioner of Major League Baseball for more than two decades and another close friend of Aaron, said one of his fondest memories was being at Milwaukee’s County Stadium as a fan of the circuit that sent the Braves to 1957. World Trials.
“The only ticket I was able to get was an obstructed view seat in the stands behind a large metal pole,” said Selig, 86. “The image of the great Aaron, overjoyed, hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates and carried off the field is indelibly etched in my memory.
Andrew Young, one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s main lieutenants during the civil rights movement and former mayor of Atlanta, said Aaron helped transform his adopted hometown into one of the world’s most most influential in America.
The Braves moved to the Deep South at a time of intense racial strife, Young pointed out, but having one of the game’s greatest black players has helped ease some of the tensions.
Atlanta continued its explosive growth, eventually capturing major sporting events such as the Olympics, several Super Bowls and World Series, as well as numerous college athletic championships.
“Just his presence, before he struck a blow, changed this city,” Young said. “We have never been the same.
Only about 50 people attended the funeral due to COVID-19 restrictions. Others sent in videotaped messages, including another former president, Jimmy Carter.
Recalling his tenure as governor of Georgia, Carter, 96, joked that after the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce gave Aaron a new Cadillac, he followed with “a $ 10 tag. “to get on the vehicle. It said “HLA 715”, a nod to Henry Louis Aaron’s initials.
The two became close friends and even took vacation trips to Colorado with their wives. In one chase, at least, Carter was the better athlete.
“Hank and I both learned to ski together,” Carter said. “He skied pretty well. I was a little better than that on the skis.
Longtime Braves fan Carter noted he was at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium the night Aaron hit his iconic home run.
The Hammer went there for the last time on Wednesday.