On April 8, 1974, Aaron and the Braves faced the Dodgers in a nationally televised game; in the fourth inning, during his second at bat, he hit his 715th record-breaking home run.
Aaron didn't consider himself a celebrity athlete. But what he lacked in flash and charisma, he made up for it with his performance at bat.
For decades, the idea of breaking Babe Ruth's record seemed as credible as the idea that a black person could be elected president of the United States.
President Bill Clinton gives Hank Aaron the Presidential Citizens Medal award on Jan. 8, 2001.
President George W. Bush presents Aaron with the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award on July 9, 2002.
Barry Bonds stands with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays during a pre-ceremony honoring Bonds for hitting his 600th home run at Pacific Bell Park in 2002.
At Turner Field in Atlanta, a statue honors No. 44 and his 20-year career with the Braves.
Because of the era in which he played and the grace he brought to the game, Aaron will always be the Home Run King.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982, on the first ballot, with 97.8 percent of the vote, second only to Ty Cobb.
Aaron ended his career with
755 home runs and 3,771 hits. Thirty three years after he retired, he remains the all-time leader in RBIs with 2,297.
Fans hold up signs in favor of Hank Aaron over San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds during a game at Turner Field on Aug. 14, 2007.
Billye Aaron, Hank Aaron and Delta Air Lines CFO Ed Bastian pose for photos after Aaron's photo was unveiled on a Boeing 757 on June 18, 2007.