Aaron: Icon of Perseverance

Baseball Legend Will Address Seniors Today, Offering Lessons on the Value of Hard Work

While going after Ruth's record, Aaron receivedan enormous amount of hate mail and death threats.

"Dear Nigger Henry, You are [not] going tobreak this record established by the great BabeRuth if I can help it....Whites are far moresuperior than jungle bunnies....My gun is watchingyour every black move," reads one letter publishedin a Sports Illustrated article on Aaron.

Aaron says he was upset by the threats and theracism behind them.

"It bothered me, but I had to look beyondthat," he says. "I just had a job to do and didit."

Aaron hit 40 or more homers eight times and seta National League record by hitting at least 20homers in 20 consecutive years.


He ended his career with the Milwaukee Brewersin 1976 after 23 years of major league baseball,with a career total of a .305 batting average. Heheld major league records in games played,at-bats, runs batted in, extra-base hits, totalbases and home runs, the last four of which hestill holds.

Aaron had many highlights in his long career,but when asked to pick one special moment, he doesnot cite any of his impressive statistics.

"I would say participating for those years,being healthy and being able to participate wasthe highlight," he says. "Otherwise none of theseother things would have happened to me."

In 1982, Aaron received 406 of 415 votes fromthe Baseball Writers Association and was electedto the Baseball Hall of Fame.


After retiring from baseball in 1976, Aaroncontinued to work in the sport.

He joined the Atlanta Braves' front office astheir vice president for player development. Afterdirecting the Braves' farm system for 16 years,Aaron became the vice president of TurnerBroadcasting in 1992 and has his office inAtlanta's CNN Center.

"I've been doing quite a few things [since Iretired]," he says. "Community work, personalthings, most of all I've just been enjoyingmyself."

"I was fortunate to come out of baseballuninjured," he says. "I'm in business, but most ofall, I just feel lucky enough to have played forso long.

But Aaron has not gotten out of baseballcompletely. He still serves on the Braves' Boardof Directors.