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A Legendary Life

The great Hank Aaron passed away yesterday. The legendary Baseball Hall of Famer and one-time home king was 86. “Hammerin’ Hank,” of course more than a baseball player. He was a pioneer who endured racism and discrimination in America – and did it with unwavering grace, humility and dignity. We collected just some of the tributes to Aaron from the world of baseball and beyond:

“Hank Aaron is near the top of everyone’s list of all-time great players. His monumental achievements as a player were surpassed only by his dignity and integrity as a person. Hank symbolized the very best of our game, and his all-around excellence provided Americans and fans across the world with an example to which to aspire. His career demonstrates that a person who goes to work with humility every day can hammer his way into history – and find a way to shine like no other.” – MLB COMMISSIONER ROB MANFRED

Hank was a great ballplayer who played hard every day and accomplished so much on and off the field. Although we were never teammates, we played on many All-Star Games together and I enjoyed our friendship to veer the years. He was a very humble and quiet man and just simply a good guy. I have so many fond memories of Hank and will miss him very much.” – WILLIE MAYS

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank. He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature. Henry Louis Aaron wasn’t just our icon, but one across Major League Baseball and around the world.” – ATLANTA BRAVES CHAIRMAN TERRY MCGUIRK

“I was lucky enough to spend time with Hank on several occasions during my career and have always had the deepest respect and admiration for all that he did both on and off the field.  He is an icon, a legend and a true hero to so many, who will forever be missed.” – BARRY BONDS

“Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we’ve ever seen and one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Aaron family and everyone who was inspired by this unassuming man and his towering example.” – FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

“Rest in Peace to American hero, icon, and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron. I still remember where I was back in the day when he set the record, at that time, to become the home run all-time leader. While a legendary athlete, Hank Aaron was also an extraordinary businessman and paved the way for other athletes like me to successfully transition into business. Hank Aaron is on the Mount Rushmore for the greatest baseball players of all time! Rest In Peace my friend.” – EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON

“We’re not only talking about a transcendent baseball player. We’re talking about a transcendent person in American history as well. I mean, to have gone through, Jackie Robinson kind of set the stage, but Hank took it to a whole ’nother level. When you’re talking about a Black man elevating himself in that day and age to the best in the game and embarking on a journey that would take him to the top of the home run list, and passing Babe Ruth, and all that he endured, it really is amazing. He is a beautiful human.” – CHIPPER JONES

”For more than two decades, Hank was baseball’s most consistent hitter, a feat rooted in his focus, his humility, and his respect for the game. He worked hard every day, never got too high or too low, and always knew the end of a slump was just one swing away. His remarkable concentration on the field was even more impressive given the discrimination he faced throughout his career, and which got much worse as he approached the home run record.” – FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON

“Hank Aaron was beloved by his teammates and by his fans. He was a true Hall of Famer in every way. He will be missed throughout the game, and his contributions to the game and his standing in the game will never be forgotten.” – FORMER MLB COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG

“I am heartbroken to hear the passing of the legendary Hank Aaron. Hank was one of my heroes and role models. A true giant to the game and the world. One of the greatest baseball players of all time. He paved the way for so many others. A true pioneer.” – ALEX RODRIGUEZ

“I was fortunate to meet Hank Aaron several times. He was not only a great athlete but a truly nice man. I’m so sorry to see him pass. He was a legend not only because of what he did in the sport but what he did for the sport. The baseball and sporting world will miss him greatly.” – JACK NICKLAUS

“He meant so much more to baseball and the country than just being one of the game’s top home run hitters. He truly was a very special man.” – VIN SCULLY

”Mr. Aaron overcame great barriers on the field, and he lived his life as an example for all of us. His talent, Major League records and honors are easy to see, but all who had a chance to know, or even meet, him know his true greatness was in how he lived, and inspired people, off the field.” – KEN GRIFFEY, JR.

“What Aaron endured, and how he persevered through it, not just with his greatness as a player, but with his dignity and focus as a person, is remarkable. He’s a Mount Rushmore-level player, but the social significance of it, and his qualities as a person, take him to another place.” – BOB COSTAS

“Hank… my dad and Grandfather raved about you. Thanks for changing the game of baseball…but more importantly thanks for bringing America together through love in a time of such great hate. Heaven is a good place.” – RUSSELL WILSON

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