Move over Babe
APRIL 4, 1974
Henry Aaron takes his first swing of the 1974 season and makes history. The
Braves outfielder connects on a 3-run homer off
Reds starter Jack Billingham, and ties Babe Ruth with 714 career home runs. It’s only a matter of time before Aaron breaks the record. Despite Aaron’s heroics, the Reds beat the Braves 7-6.
There’s an interesting side-light to this story. Atlanta Braves management wanted Aaron to break the record at home. They planned to sit him for the first three games of the season in Cincinnati. Commissioner
Bowie Kuhn wouldn’t have it, and ruled that Aaron had to play two out of three.
The rest is history. Aaron tied
Babe Ruth's record in his very first at bat and, fortunately for the Braves, didn’t hit another home run in the series. So, the Braves returned home. And on April 8th, in front of the biggest crowd ever at Fulton County Coliseum in Atlanta, Hank Aaron hit a home run off
Los Angeles pitcher
Al Downing breaking Ruth’s record.
Later in 1974, Aaron was traded to Milwaukee where he broke in 20 years earlier. This time he’s playing for the Brewers, an American League team at the time. He could prolong his career as a designated hitter.
Henry Aaron retired in 1976. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982. He is the only player in major league history to hit at least 20 home runs in 20 seasons. He also appeared in 21 all-star games.