Reaction to the death of Hank Aaron

FILE- In this 1954 file photo, Milwaukee Braves’ Hank Aaron poses for a photo at Ebbets Field during an exhibition season in New York. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo, File)

FILE – In this Sept. 23, 1957, file photo, Milwaukee Braves’ Hank Aaron is carried from the baseball field by teammates after they won the National League pennant with a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals, in Milwaukee. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/File)

FILE- In this July 14, 1968, file photo, Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron smiles as he looks at the trophy presented him by Braves President Bill Bartholomay, after Aaron hit his 500th career home run in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly, File)

Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron is greeted at the plate by teammates Tony Gonzalez (43) and Rico Carty (25) after hitting a two-run homer in the first inning during the third National League playoff game with the New York Mets in New York’s Shea Stadium, Oct. 6, 1969. Gonzalez scored ahead of Aaron. (AP Photo)

Atlanta’s Hank Aaron (44) ducks back and loses his helmet as a pitch by New York’s Gary Gentry comes close in the third inning of the third game of the National League playoffs at New York’s Shea Stadium, Oct. 6, 1969. Catcher is Mets’ Jerry Grote and umpire is Ed Sudol. At bottom is Mets first baseman Ed Kranepool (7). (AP Photo)

The ball leaves the bat of Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron headed for the left field seats for a game run putting the Braves ahead of the Mets in the seventh inning, 5-4, in the National League playoff game in Atlanta Stadium, Oct. 4, 1969. The Mets batter is Tom Seaver, right, and catcher Jerry Grote. The umpire is Al Barlick. (AP Photo)

FILE- In this May 17, 1970, file photo Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron, center, poses for photos after getting his 3,000th career hits during a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati. At left is Hall of Famer Stan Musial who was the last man to accomplish the feat, hitting his 3,000th in 1958. At right is Bill Bartholomay, owner of the Braves. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Gene Smith, File)

FILE – In this April 27, 1971, file photo, Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron watches as his 600th major league home run during third inning of National League game against San Francisco in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Jack Harris, File)

FILE- In this March 1974 file photo, Atlanta Braves outfielder Hank Aaron swings a bat at home plate during spring training. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo, File)

FILE- In this April 1, 1974, file photo with spotlights from television cameras in the background, Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron looks on during a news conference in New Orleans. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo, File)

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FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron gives the thumbs-up sign to reporters indicating he will play in the season opener against the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, in this April 4, 1974, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record and gracefully left his mark as one of baseball’s greatest all-around players, died Friday. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves, Aaron’s longtime team, said he died peacefully in his sleep. No cause was given.(AP Photo/File)

FILE – In this April 8, 1974, file photo Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron hits his 715th career home run in Atlanta Stadium to break the all-time record set by the late Babe Ruth. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Joe Holloway, Jr., File)

FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron smiles during a press conference following a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers where Aaron hit his 715th career home run in Atlanta, in this Monday night, April 8, 1974, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/File)

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FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron smiles during a press conference at Atlanta Stadium, Ga., after the game in which he hit his 715th career home, in this April 8, 1974, file photo. With him is his wife Billye, partially obscured. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record and gracefully left his mark as one of baseball’s greatest all-around players, died Friday. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves, Aaron’s longtime team, said he died peacefully in his sleep. No cause was given. (AP Photo/File)

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FILE – In this April 8, 1999, file photo, Major League Baseball’s all-time career home run record holder Hank Aaron laughs as he shows off the newly unveiled “Hank Aaron Award” during a news conference in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record and gracefully left his mark as one of baseball’s greatest all-around players, died Friday. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves, Aaron’s longtime team, said he died peacefully in his sleep. No cause was given. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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FILE- In this July 12, 2004, file photo, home run record holder Hank Aaron greets San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds before the start of the All-Star Home Run Derby in Houston. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record and gracefully left his mark as one of baseball’s greatest all-around players, died Friday. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves, Aaron’s longtime team, said he died peacefully in his sleep. No cause was given.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

FILE – Hall of Famer Hank Aaron waves to the crowd during Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., in this Sunday, July 28, 2013, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

FILE- In this April 8, 2014, file photo, Hank Aaron laughs during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run before the start of a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE – In this April 8, 2014, file photo, Hank Aaron, left, sits with his wife Billye, during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of his 715th home run before the start of a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE- In this Jan. 14, 2016, file photo, Hank Aaron, left, looks on with wife Billye during a ceremony presenting him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, by the Consul General of Japan at his official residence in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE-  In this March 29, 2017, file photo, Hank Aaron looks at his new statue in Monument Garden at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, after the unveiling ceremony in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)
FILE- In this March 29, 2017, file photo, Hank Aaron looks at his new statue in Monument Garden at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, after the unveiling ceremony in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Hank Aaron poses for a picture with Frank Thomas, Christian Yelich, David Ortiz, Jose Altuve, Craig Biggio and MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. before Game 2 of the baseball World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Hank Aaron is flanked by Alex Rodriguez, right, and David Ortiz as they take a selfie before Game 2 of the baseball World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron waits to receive his COVID-19 vaccination on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. Aaron and others received their vaccinations in an effort to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated for Black Americans who might be hesitant to do so. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)

FILE – Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron sits for a portrait after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, in this Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, file photo. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, File)

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FILE-  In this March 29, 2017, file photo, Hank Aaron looks at his new statue in Monument Garden at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, after the unveiling ceremony in Atlanta. Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

Reaction to the death of one-time home run king Hank Aaron. He died Friday at the age of 86:

“Thank you for everything you ever taught us, for being a trailblazer through adversity and setting an example for all of us African-American ballplayers who came after you. Being able to grow up and have the idols and role models I did, help shape me for a future I could have never dreamed of.” — Barry Bonds, who broke Aaron’s home run record of 755, on Twitter

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“Not long ago, he and I were walking the streets of Washington, D.C, together and talking about how we’ve been the best of friends for more than 60 years. Then Hank said, ‘Who would have ever thought all those years ago that a Black kid from Mobile, Alabama, would break Babe Ruth’s home run record and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the commissioner of baseball?’ Aaron was beloved by his teammates and by his fans. He was a true Hall of Famer in every way.” — Former Commissioner Bud Selig

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“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.” — Commissioner Rob Manfred

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“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 in many All-Star games together and I enjoyed our friendship over the years. He was a very humble and quiet man and just simply a good guy.” — Hall of Famer Willie Mays

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“When I watched Henry Aaron play baseball, I knew I was watching someone special. It wasn’t just about watching a gifted athlete master his craft on the way to a Hall of Fame career as one of the greatest to ever play the game. It was that each time Henry Aaron rounded the bases, he wasn’t just chasing a record, he was helping us chase a better version of ourselves. With courage and dignity, he eclipsed the most hallowed record in sports while absorbing vengeance that would have broken most people. But he was unbreakable. He stemmed the vicious force of white supremacy, in death threats, hate mail, and in hardened hearts. What I deeply admired and respected about him is that each time he rounded those bases — an astonishing 755 trips home — he melted away more and more of the ice of bigotry to show that we can be better as a people and as a nation. … God bless, Henry “Hank” Aaron, an American hero.” — President Joe Biden.

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“I can’t imagine what Hank Aaron went through in his lifetime. He spread his grace on everything and every one he came in contact with. Epitome of class and integrity.” — Hall of Famer Chipper Jones

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“Hank Aaron’s incredible talent on the baseball field was only matched by his dignity and character, which shone brightly, not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he took. His courage while pursuing the game’s all-time home run record served as an example for millions of people inside and outside of the sports world, who were also aspiring to achieve their greatest dreams.” — Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark

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“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. A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come.” — Former President Jimmy Carter

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“A child of the Jim Crow South, Hank quit high school to join the Negro League, playing shortstop for $200 a month before earning a spot in Major League Baseball. Humble and hardworking, Hank was often overlooked until he started chasing Babe Ruth’s home run record, at which point he began receiving death threats and racist letters — letters he would reread decades later to remind himself ‘not to be surprised or hurt.’ Those letters changed Hank, but they didn’t stop him.” — Former President Barack Obama

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“The former home run king wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him.” — Former President George W. Bush

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“The word that keeps coming to me when I think about Hank Aaron Is Love. He was the epitome of it. Every conversation and every meeting you had with him he made you feel loved. A legend in every sense of the word, Hank has meant so much to me and so much to the Atlanta community and beyond. Hank was one of the greatest baseball players of all time, a champion civil rights activist and a role model for everyone. Thank you Mr. Aaron for everything you gave and taught. #Forever44.” — Braves first baseman and 2020 NL MVP Freddie Freeman

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“America lost an extraordinary soul in @HenryLouisAaron. On the field, he brought power + purpose. In the community, Hank Aaron invested in progress, in people & in dreams.” — Georgia voting rights advocate Stacey Abrams

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“While the world knew him as ‘Hammering Hank Aaron’ because of his incredible, record-setting baseball career, he was a cornerstone of our village, graciously and freely joining Mrs. Aaron in giving their presence and resources toward making our city a better place.” — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

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“On the field, off the field, for 23 remarkable playing seasons and beyond, Hank Aaron was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the phrase. Generations of players have walked, and will continue to walk, on a trail that Hank Aaron blazed with his determination, courage, singular talent and grace.” — Players’ union executive director Tony Clark

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“Hank Aaron was the most important influence on my life, next to my dad. He was the best person that I ever knew, and the truest, most honest person that I ever knew. He taught me how to be a man and how to be a proud African-American. He taught me how important it was to give back to the community, and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.” — Houston manager Dusty Baker

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“I still remember where I was back in the day when he set the record. 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!” — Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson

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“When the RBI award came out in 1986, it was the Hank Aaron Award, and I was the first recipient of it, and I’ve got his jersey in my basement, hanging on the wall, right next to my Hank Aaron RBI trophy. What a tremendous ambassador for the game, what a great player, what a humanitarian. As far as I’m concerned, I still recognize him as the all-time home run leader.” — Former player Joe Carter

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“Hank Aaron changed my life. The greatest moment I ever got to be a part of was catching 715. That moment bonded us forever as friends and teammates. We watched Hank shrug off the weight of the world and just keep swinging.” — Former Atlanta pitcher Tom House

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“The ultimate Home Run King, Hank would often remind us to ‘Keep Swinging.’ He said, ‘My motto in life was to keep swinging, whether I was in a slump on the field, feeling bad or having trouble off the field — JUST KEEP SWINGING.’ I will miss you my friend, but you inspired me to KEEP SWINGING.” — The Rev. Jesse Jackson

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“We lost an icon today, one of the greatest athletes to ever wear a uniform. Wisconsin lost a legendary figure, and I lost a great teammate and friend. I will always cherish my time with Hank … all the laughs we shared, and all the unforgettable stories. Hank loved Wisconsin, and we loved him back.” — former Milwaukee Braves teammate and Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker

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