The anniversary of the 715th home run arrived Thursday without Hank Aaron, but was celebrated in his honor just the same. Still, it was a bittersweet day, as it marked the first time No. 715 was remembered since the Atlanta Braves legend and Hall of Famer had passed.
Aaron died in January at the age of 86.
On April 8, 1974, Aaron’s fourth-inning blast off Dodgers pitcher Al Downing gave him 715 homers for his career, surpassing Babe Ruth on baseball’s all-time list. That home run came one day after an Opening Day shot against the Reds’ Jack Billingham, tying Ruth’s record.
“He’s sitting on 714,” said Braves broadcaster Milo Hamilton right before one of the most famous swings in baseball history. “Here’s the pitch by Downing. Swinging. Here’s a drive into left center field. That ball is gonna be … outta here! It’s gone! It’s 715! There’s a new home run champion of all time, and it’s Henry Aaron.”
Aaron went on to hit 40 more home runs over the course of his career, which ended with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1976. His 2,297 RBI and 6,856 total bases remain MLB records.