Aaron held the all-time record for home runs, at 755, for 33 seasons after surpassing Babe Ruth's total of 714 in 1974. Barry Bonds beat Aaron's mark in 2007, finishing his career with 762.
Aaron also holds the career records for most runs batted in, 2,297, most total bases, 6,856, and most extra-base hits, 1,477, finishing with an OPS of 155 and having compiled 143.1 wins above replacement, the fifth-highest WAR total ever, according to Baseball Reference. (An average OPS , which is an adjusted measure of on-base plus slugging percentage and used to highlight a hitter's overall value, is 100.)
Aaron's legacy stretched far beyond the diamond, as he helped pave the way for other Black players to succeed in a sport still struggling to overcome a history of racism. Aaron's career began just seven years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.
As a child, Aaron grew up in the Deep South, which was still segregated, and in the years leading up to his record-breaking home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers he was the target of death threats, receiving thousands of letters with racist messages.
During his iconic moment, after smacking the record-breaking home run, as Aaron rounded second base, two white fans who'd jumped onto the field ran toward him, and, according to ESPN, Aaron's bodyguard, Calvin Wardlaw, watched from the stands with his hand secretly on his revolver, trying to determine if the two men were hostile or friendly. Much to Aaron's relief, they were there to celebrate his historic blast.
"It was supposed to be the greatest triumph of my life, but I was never allowed to enjoy it. I couldn't wait for it to be over," he once said. "The only reason that some people didn't want me to succeed was because I was a Black man."
Earlier this month, Aaron got vaccinated against COVID-19 in Georgia, in hopes that doing so would send a message to other Black Americans that the shots are safe, ESPN reported.
Aaron spent 21 seasons in the National League, with Milwaukee from 1954 to 1965 and then in Atlanta from 1966 to 1974, before finishing his 23-year career in the American League with the Brewers until 1976.
Aaron, who was selected to a record 25 All-Star Games and won three Gold Gloves, won the NL MVP in 1957 when he hit .322 with 44 home runs and 132 RBI. When elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 he was "nine votes shy of becoming the first unanimous inductee," the Atlanta Braves noted in a team statement. No player was elected unanimously until Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera received 100% of the vote as part of the 2019 class.
After retiring, "The Home Run King" became a senior vice president with the Atlanta Braves in 1976. Honoring Hank Aaron's Legacy
Reactions to the news on Friday included messages from teams, fans and civil rights organizations.
"Hank Aaron represented an era in this nation of Black individuals who broke barriers. He did not only break barriers on the baseball field, but also in the civil rights movement," Derrick Johnson, national president of the NAACP, said in a statement. "I hope that athletes from all sports will follow in his footsteps to use their platforms for social good and to advance the cause of civil rights. ... Hank Aaron was a close member of our family here at NAACP. We know his legacy will continue to inspire many generations to come. He will be greatly missed."
President Jimmy Carter hailed the baseball star as a "personal hero."
"Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of our dear friend, Henry Aaron. One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us," the 39th president said in a statement. "A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come."
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement on behalf of his entire family: "Hank Aaron was an American icon and one of Georgia's greatest legends. His life and career made history, and his influence was felt not only in the world of sports, but far beyond -- through his important work to advance civil rights and create a more equal, just society. We ask all Georgians to join us in praying for his fans, family, and loved ones as we remember Hammerin' Hank's incredible legacy."
Hank Aaron's legacy transcends his place as one of the greatest in the history of our national pastime. He represents the best of America, with his resiliency, grace, and relentless optimism. An extraordinary life. He is royalty. Always will be. RIP. @MLBNetwork@baseballhall
(NEW YORK) -- Despite rising COVID-19 infections in Japan, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday that there is "no reason whatsoever" to believe the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 as planned.
"This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful," Bach told Japanese news agency Kyodo in an interview Thursday.
However, Bach admitted he could not guarantee that the stands would be full or rule out the possibility that the Games would be held without spectators, according to Kyodo.
Bach's statement comes amid reports that the Japanese government has privately concluded that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled.
On Friday, Japan's Cabinet Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games called those reports "categorically untrue."
"The renewed schedules and venues for the Tokyo 2020 Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony on July 23 this year, were determined at the IOC Session in July last year. All parties involved are working together to prepare for the successful Games this summer," the cabinet secretariat said in a statement Friday. "We will implement all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer."
The statement follows a report published Thursday evening by British newspaper The Times, which cited "a senior member of the ruling coalition" who said there is agreement that the Games are doomed and the focus now is on securing the event for the Japanese capital in the next available year, 2032.
The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee and Japan's prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Japan is facing a resurgence of COVID-19. The country of 126 million people reported the highest number of new cases in the Western Pacific region last week. The infection rate -- currently at 32.8 cases per 100,000 people -- increased by 4% over the previous week, according to the World Health Organization's latest COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed 5,662 new cases of COVID-19 as well as an additional 87 fatalities from the disease on Thursday, bringing the cumulative totals to 348,646 cases and 4,829 deaths.
Japanase Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and 10 other prefectures due to climbing case counts and growing death tolls.
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday's sports events:
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION LA Lakers 113 Milwaukee 106 Utah 129, New Orleans 118 New York 119, Golden State 104
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE NY Islanders 4, New Jersey 1 Winnipeg 4, Ottawa 1 Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 2 (OT) Boston 5, Philadelphia 4 (SO) Montreal 7, Vancouver 3 Los Angeles 4, Colorado 2 Florida at Carolina (Postponed) TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Indiana 81, Iowa 69 UCLA 61, California 57
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Wednesday's sports events:
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Dallas 124, Indiana 112 Philadelphia 117, Boston 109 Cleveland 147, Brooklyn 135 (2OT) Miami 111, Toronto 102 Atlanta 123, Detroit 115 (OT) Orlando 97, Minnesota 96 Phoenix 109, Houston 103 LA Clippers 115, Sacramento 96 Golden State 121, San Antonio 99 Washington at Charlotte (Postponed) Memphis at Portland (Postponed)
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Edmonton 3, Toronto 1 San Jose 2, St. Louis 1 (SO) Minnesota 3, Anaheim 2 Vegas 5, Arizona 2 Vancouver 6, Montreal 5 (SO)
TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Houston 86, Tulsa 59 Wisconsin 68, Northwestern 52 Providence 74, Creighton 70 Georgia Tech 83, Clemson 65 Texas at Iowa St. (Postponed) Texas Tech at TCU (Postponed) NC State at Virginia (Postponed) Boston College at Virginia Tech (Postponed) Minnesota at Nebraska (Postponed) Xavier at UConn (Postponed) Saint Louis at UMass (Postponed)
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION Denver 119, Oklahoma City 101 Utah 118, New Orleans 102 NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Winnipeg 4, Ottawa 3 (OT) Philadelphia 3, Buffalo 0 New Jersey 4, NY Rangers 3 Florida 5, Chicago 4 (OT) Pittsburgh 5, Washington 4 Detroit 3, Columbus 2 (OT) Colorado 3, Los Angeles 2 Carolina at Nashville (Postponed) TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Villanova 76, Seton Hall 74 Florida 75, Tennessee 49 Michigan 87, Maryland 63 Purdue 67, Ohio St. 65 Alabama 105, LSU 75 Missouri 81, South Carolina 70 Illinois 79, Penn St. 65 Oklahoma St. at West Virginia (Postponed) UCLA at Oregon (Postponed)
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION New York 91, Orlando 84 Atlanta 108, Minnesota 97 San Antonio 125, Portland 104 Memphis 108, Phoenix 104 Toronto 116, Dallas 93 Brooklyn 125, Milwaukee 123 Chicago 125, Houston 120 Miami 113, Detroit 107 Golden State 115, L.A. Lakers 113 Cleveland at Washington (Postponed)
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Columbus 3, Detroit 2 NY Islanders 1, Boston 0 Toronto 3, Winnipeg 1 Buffalo 6, Philadelphia 1 Carolina 4, Nashville 2 St. Louis 5, San Jose 4 Calgary 5, Vancouver 2 Montreal 3, Edmonton 1 Anaheim 1, Minnesota 0 Vegas 4, Arizona 2 TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Baylor 77, Kansas 69 St. John's 74, UConn 70
(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma State University basketball coach Mike Boynton was feeling generous over the weekend. The coach and his staff showed up at Walmart Sunday to surprise OSU walk-on player Dee Mitchell with a scholarship as he worked his shift at the store.
Teammates watched the surprise via Zoom as Boynton brought Mitchell to tears.
Watch the full report, including video of Mitchell accepting the scholarship award:
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesBy ALEXANDRA SVOKOS, ABC News
(NEW YORK) -- Aliphine Tuliamuk, who won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials last February, gave birth to a girl, her first child, she announced Monday morning.
"Our daughter Zoe Cherotich Gannon arrived on 1/13/2021 and she is absolutely perfect. Her dad and I are just so overwhelmed with joy love and gratitude, and we can't stop staring at her," she wrote on Twitter.
She made the announcement on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and noted on Instagram that her daughter was born just two days before the civil rights icon's birthday -- "so close!" In his memory, she wrote, "may we all be proactive and do the right thing."
The marathoner announced she was pregnant in early December, posting on Instagram, "[Partner] Tim [Gannon] and I always knew that we wanted to have a family, the goal was post 2020 Olympics, well as it turned out this year had other plans, by mid April we were convinced that there will be no more races this season, and the darkness ahead was too much, we created our own light at the end of the tunnel!"
"Her journey to this world was relatively long but 'easy,'" Tuliamuk expanded on Instagram about her daughter's birth, adding with some emojis, "I was up and walking around a few hours after she arrived, like give me a race right now ...kidding."
Tuliamuk, who was born in Kenya and became an American citizen in 2016, according to NBC Sports, is still planning to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, should they be held this summer.
(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Sunday's sports events:
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION New York 105, Boston 75 Chicago 117, Dallas 101 Utah 109, Denver 105 New Orleans 128, Sacramento 123 LA Clippers 129, Indiana 96 Cleveland at Washington (Postponed) Philadelphia at Oklahoma City (Postponed) NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE Pittsburgh 4, Washington 3 (SO) Florida 5, Chicago 2 Dallas at Tampa Bay (Postponed)
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS Kansas City 22, Cleveland 17 Tampa Bay 30, New Orleans 20
TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL Iowa 96, Northwestern 73 Houston 75 UCF 58 Virginia Tech 64, Wake Forest 60
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagicBy CARSON BLACKWELDER, ABC News
(NEW YORK) -- Shawn Johnson is pregnant with her second child with husband Andrew East, the couple announced Friday.
"Here we go again," the Olympic gold medalist captioned an Instagram post featuring a series of photos in which she shows off her baby bump with her family.
In the first snap, she shares a romantic kiss with East. The second is a sweet shot of their 1-year-old daughter, Drew Hazel, and the third is a family portrait of the three of them together.
The couple also shared a video to YouTube about their big news -- including how Johnson told East she was pregnant, them both guessing it's a boy, and that the baby's due date is summer 2021.
Johnson also opened up about how conflicted she feels after having experienced a pregnancy loss back in 2017.
"I think every time I get a pregnancy test positive after the miscarriage, I try to numb myself and be like, 'OK, here's the situation: You're pregnant, we don't know how it's going to end,'" she said. "I don't celebrate it, which is kind of sad. I get very excited, but I also get very daunted by the situation."
East -- who said he wants to have "as many kids as possible" -- then recalled how he tested positive for COVID-19 just days after finding out Johnson was pregnant.
"We were in this time of celebration and we wanted to tell her parents and our friends, but then I ended up having to self-isolate," he said, calling it "not the ideal situation."
Johnson ended the video with a message of support to other families on the journey to have children.
"If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, if you're trying to adopt, if you're in the process of expanding your family or recently suffering from a loss, we are praying for you. All those beautiful babies out there, all those rainbow babies, all those babies in heaven," she said. "We love you guys."