“Hammerin’ Hank” Henry Louis Aaron died earlier today. Aaron was 86.
His resume speaks for itself, Aaron finished with 755 home runs in his 23-year Major League career shattering Babe Ruth’s long-thought unsurpassable all-time home run record. For the past 23 years, the league has presented its annual Hank Aaron Award to the best offensive player in each league in his honour.
As is the theme of this site, we’re going to focus on the uniforms Aaron wore throughout his magnificent career…
Aaron played his first dozen seasons with the Milwaukee Braves, starting as a rookie in 1954 when he wore the number 5. He switched to his familiar number 44 the next year and wore it for the next 22 years. The Braves wore two basic uniform styles during his time in Milwaukee, both of which similar to what the franchise wears today. Their uniforms featured a tomahawk across the chest under the Braves script, a design Aaron wore during his MVP season and only World Series championship in 1957. In 1962 the tomahawk was dropped and the zipper was swapped out for buttons up the front. The team moved to Atlanta for 1966 with the only change coming to the team’s cap, swapping an M for an A.
The Braves underwent a uniform re-design in 1968 adding pinstripes to their home whites and reducing the amount of red used considerably. An all-blue cap was introduced for road games only initially before being adopted full time in 1970. Aaron hit 158 of his 755 career home runs in this uniform style and appeared in four All-Star Games.
As baseball entered the 1970s, many uniforms shedded their traditional looks in favour of more modern designs. The Atlanta Braves were no exception, switching to this pullover style with a new lowercase scripted “A” cap and feathers up each sleeve. Aaron only wore these uniforms for three seasons but the image of him wearing this design while breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974 lasts forever.
With the introduction of the designated hitter to the American League and an opportunity to return to where he began his Major League career, the Atlanta Braves traded Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers on November 2, 1974. Aaron played his final two seasons with the Brewers, hit 22 home runs, made the American League All-Star team in 1975.