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.
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,…