Today in Sports History: April 8

On April 8, 1974, the legendary Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, becoming Major League Baseball’s all-time leading home run hitter. For decades, Babe Ruth had been Major League Baseball’s “Home Run King,” but his record was eventually toppled by Aaron early on in the 1974 season. Aaron’s 715th career home run was certainly one of the most memorable moments in sports history. Aaron would stand as the MLB’s “Home Run King” until 2007, when Barry Bonds surpassed him on the all-time list.

Today, Aaron ranks no. 2 on the all-time home run hitting list (755 total), no. 1 on the all-time RBI list (2,297 total), no. 3 all-time in hits (3,771 total), and no. 4 all-time in runs scored (2,174 total). Considering that he ranks in the top five in all of those categories, he is most certainly regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. In 1999, the MLB established the now annually presented Hank Aaron award, which is given to the best hitter in both the National and American Leagues.

Throughout his illustrious 23-year playing career, Aaron was an All-Star a record 21 seasons. He made 25 All-Star appearances, owing to the fact that from 1959-1962, the All-Star game was played twice. Aaron led the NL in home runs four times (1957, 1963, 1966, and 1967), in RBIs four times (1957, 1960, 1963, and 1966), in hits two times (1956 and 1959), and in runs scored three times (1957, 1963, and 1967). In 1957, he was named the NL MVP and led the Braves to their first World Series in Milwaukee. He played for the Braves (who moved to Atlanta during that span) for 21 of his 23 seasons, before ending his career where it all started in Milwaukee with the Brewers organization. In 1982, Aaron was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and in 2002 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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