Hank Aaron Invitational
Photo credit: MLB Develops/Twitter

Hank Aaron Offers Platform For Young Black Baseball Players

It has been 45 years since Hank Aaron became baseball’s all-time home run leader, a tittle he held for more than three decades. At the age of 85, “Hammering Hank” still has an impact on the game he loves.

On Aug. 2, the 44 young Black players who were selected to play in the inaugural Hank Aaron Invitational exhibition game at Suntrust Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, embarked on a civil rights tour of Atlanta that included the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the King Center and King’s former church, Ebenezer Baptist.

The evening was capped off with surprise appearance by Hank Aaron himself. From his wheelchair, he addressed the room.

He recounted the terror he faced during his life due to the color of his skin. From hiding under his bed as a boy because the Ku Klux Klan was at his door to having death threats made against him as he pursued Babe Ruth’s 715 home run mark.

The death threats got so bad, Aaron’s own teammates would not even sit with him.

“The last four or five days were probably the toughest days of my baseball career,” Aaron told the Associated Press. “After it was over with, my wife and I … prayed and thanked the Lord for blessing me with that moment.”

Jerry Royster, who was in the opposing dugout that night, shared his memory with the teenagers as he served as one of the coaches for the event.

Royster told the AP, “I jumped up so high I hit my head on the top of the dugout.”

The players were selected from a pool of 250 players that participate in the Hank Aaron Invitational in July and August at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida.

The event aimed to showcase and educate high school players with diverse backgrounds on the next level of the game. The players are also being educated on college eligibility and other information concerning advancement in professional and collegiate levels of baseball.

Only 7.7% of the MLB are African-American players. As a comparison, 74.4% of the NBA are African-American players.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest News

Helping to Serve Those Most in Need

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente will provide more than $40 million in grants to community-based organizations in the coming months. Many of those grants will help ensure access to health care for those most in need. “We are a mission-based nonprofit that believes everyone has the right to…

Boeing Programs Receive Aviation Week Laureate Awards

Originally published on Boeing.mediaroom.com. ecoDemonstrator and Ground-based Midcourse Defense programs recognized for achievements in aerospace wo Boeing [NYSE:BA] programs were honored today with Aviation Week Laureate Awards for extraordinary achievements in aerospace. Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program was recognized in the Commercial Aviation Sustainability category. The ecoDemonstrator takes promising technologies out of the…


On Twitter, Activists, Businesses Can Advertise Causes, But Political Ads Still Banned

Twitter released revised rules for advertisements on Friday, saying that ads sponsored by politicians still are banned but advertisements for causes, such as social, economic and environmental issues, are allowed. Beginning this week, businesses and activists are allowed to buy advertisements around causes like “civic engagement” and “social equity.” But…

award, ford, aclu

Christine Blasey Ford Receives ACLU’s Roger Baldwin Courage Award

Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh did not prevent him from ultimately being confirmed for the seat. However, the ACLU of Southern California honored her with the Roger Baldwin Courage Award on Sunday. Blasey Ford received both support and scrutiny for her testimony against…

Fraternity Activities Suspended at Syracuse University Following Latest Racist Incident, Investigation into Racist Graffiti Ongoing

Syracuse University has a new development in its latest string of racist incidents. On Sunday morning, the university suspended all social activities at fraternities after a group of students, including members of the fraternity Alpha Chi Rho, called a Black female student a racial slur on Saturday night. The altercation…