October 22, 2022

With another year coming to a close, the Washington Examiner is looking back at some of the high-profile people who died in 2021, including a sports legend, media icons, and political giants.

FILE – Atlanta Braves’ Hank Aaron waves to the crowd as baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn presents him with a trophy in Cincinnati after Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s all-time home run mark, in this April 4, 1974, file photo. Aaron died Jan. 22, 2021. Kuhn was commissioner from Feb. 4, 1969 to Sept. 30, 1984. (AP Photo/Bob Johnson, File) Bob Johnson/AP

Hank Aaron, 86

Baseball fans know the MLB legend for breaking Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs, but less talked about is how Hank Aaron did so during a time of racial tension and social unrest.

After finishing the 1973 season with 713 home runs, just one shy of beating Ruth’s record, the prospect of a black athlete surpassing Ruth sowed racial discord. Aaron was subjected to racist taunts from fans and even death threats. His team, the Atlanta Braves, hired a police escort for him, and Aaron checked into hotels under a different name as a precaution.

Through it all, Aaron never lost his cool in the public eye. He went on to hit 755 home runs by 1976, a record that would last for over 30 years until August 2007, when it was broken by Barry Bonds — a record still mired in controversy.

“Forget the later,…

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