1974 | ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Henry Aaron saved the best for the home town crowd. Four days after tying Babe Ruth‘s career home run record of 714 on the road in Cincinnati, Hammerin Hank broke the record before hysterical Atlanta Braves‘ fans at Fulton County Coliseum. He hit the 715th of his career off Los Angeles Dodger hurler Al Downing. Aaron would go on the hit 755 home runs for his career.
Henry Aaron ended his career back in the city where he made his major league debut. He played the 1975 and 1976 seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers.
The term “home run” was originally a descriptive one. In the early days of baseball, fences were generally farther out than they are today. The batter had to literally run home before being tagged out to hit a “home run.”
Babe Ruth held the career home run record for 53 years, the longest of any player. Here’s a list of the career home run record breakers and total home runs the new record-holder finished that year with.
Year Player HRs
2007 Barry Bonds 762
1974 Henry Aaron 733
1921 Babe Ruth 162
1895 Roger Connor 124
1889 Harry Stovey 89
1887 Dan Brouthers 74
1885 Harry Stovey 50
1883 Charley Jones 33
1882 Jim O’Rourke 24
1881 Charley Jones 23
1879 Lip Pike 20
Here are the current top-10 career home run hitters:
Barry Bonds 762
Henry Aaron 755
Babe Ruth 714
Alex Rodriguez 696
Willie Mays 660
Ken Griffey Jr, 630
Jim Thome 612
Sammy Sosa 609
Albert Pujols 591 (active)
Frank Robinson 586
The term “home run” was originally a descriptive one. In the early days of baseball, fences were generally farther out than they are today, so hitting a ball over the fence was rare. Inside-the-park home runs were more common because outfielders had more ground to cover. The batter had to literally run home before being tagged out to hit a “home run.”
Henry Aaron in the Hall of Fame
Career home run record holders
1954 | ST. PETERSBERG, FLORIDA – A nasty break for a veteran opened the door for a future superstar on this date in 1954. It was an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. Milwaukee Braves outfielder Bobby Thomson was trying to beat a throw to second base. The former New York Giant , who hit “the shot heard round the world,” in October of ’51, slid awkwardly and broke his ankle in three places.
Thomson would be out of the lineup until July. Put into the lineup was a skinny, 20-year old kid from Mobile, Alabama by the name of Henry Louis Aaron . He would be a regular in the Braves outfield for the next 21 years (He played 2 more years for the Milwaukee Brewers).
With Thomson’s injury many thought the Braves were out of the 1954 pennant race. Sportswriter Henry McCormick wrote, “With him [Thomson] may go the Braves’ hopes of staying in the thick of the pennant fight.” But the Braves stayed in the ‘54 race almost until the end. They were only four games out on September 15th, finishing 8 games out in third place, 89-65. Aaron played 122 games, hit .280 with 13 home runs and 69 RBI.
Hammerin Hank would become and remain the home run king (755) until Barry Bonds broke it in 2007. Aaron remains (as of this date) the all-time RBI leader (2,297). He was voted to 25 all-star games (they used to play two each season).
Wisconsin State Journal, March 14, 1954, by Henry McCormick,
1954 NL pennant race
FEBRUARY 5, 1934 | MOBILE, ALABAMA – A home run king that is. Henry Aaron was born on this date in 1934 in Mobile, Alabama. He would go on to become major league baseball’s all-time home run king in 1974 when he eclipsed Babe Ruth‘s record of 714.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs. Barry Bonds broke Aaron’s record in 2007, tainted, however, by allegations of steroid use.
Henry Aaron, not unlike his unassuming demeanor, quietly set many major league records and is among the leaders of many more. Here are some as compiled by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR):
Most seasons with at least 20 HRs 20(1st)
Most career RBI 2,297(1st)
Most career extra base hits 1,477(1st)
Most career total bases 6,856(1st)
Most seasons at least 100 runs scored 15(1st)
Most career home runs 755(2nd)
Most career hits 3,771 (3rd)
Most career runs 2,174(4th tied)
Most career at-bats 12,364(2nd)
Most seasons at least 100 RBI 11(4th tied)
Most career games 3,298 (3rd)
It’s also remarkable, considering he was the all-time HR king for almost 40 years, the lists Aaron is not on:
Most seasons with at least 60 HRs 0
Most seasons with at least 50 HRs 0
Henry Louis Aaron was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.
MLB batting leaderboards, Baseball-Reference
More on Hank Aaron