Falcons Retire MLB Legend’s Jersey Number


Getty At Turner Field, a statue honors #44 Hank Aaron and his career with the Braves (1954-1974).

Major League Baseball legend Hank Aaron passed away at age 86 on Friday. Hank played for the Atlanta Braves where he surpassed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run leaderboard.

The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United decided to honor his memory in an extraordinary way by retiring Hank’s jersey No. 44 for the 2021 season.

“When you look at icons of Atlanta and the sport of baseball, Hank Aaron is undoubtedly included in that group,” said Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “But he was more than an icon in sports, he was an icon off the field as well in how he carried himself and treated others. Because of that, we are honored to celebrate his awe-inspiring life by retiring number 44 this season for our Atlanta Falcons. He was a true icon and yet when you encountered him, he always made you feel special. He was a great ambassador for the game of baseball, a great ambassador of the City of Atlanta, and quite simply a great person.”

“To celebrate the incredible life and career of baseball legend Hank Aaron, we are proud to retire the No. 44 this season for our Atlanta United and ATL UTD 2 teams,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “He was an American hero, a trailblazer and arguably Atlanta’s greatest sports icon. The impact he had on our city, our country and the sports world is immeasurable. Hank Aaron will undoubtedly live on through the countless lives he touched and through the young athletes across the globe who he has inspired.”

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several players paid tribute to Hank, including Falcons QB Matt Ryan.

Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth’s Record

On April 6, 1974, Hank stepped up to the plate against LA Dodgers left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning.

The first pitch was called a ball.

The next pitch, Hank hit the sweet spot sending the ball over the fence for his 715th homer, passing Babe Ruth on the all-time list.

“I don’t want them to forget (Babe) Ruth, I just want them to remember me!,” Hank said.

Aaron went on to play two more years in the league before retiring with a record of 755 home runs, the golden mark until 2007 when Barry Bonds surpassed the MLB great.

“We are absolutely devastated by the passing of our beloved Hank,” Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said in a statement via ESPN. “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. His success on the diamond was matched only by his business accomplishments off the field and capped by his extraordinary philanthropic efforts.

“We are heartbroken and thinking of his wife Billye and their children Gaile, Hank, Jr., Lary, Dorinda and Ceci and his grandchildren.”

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