Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hank Aaron to Speak at National Portrait Gallery

Henry "Hank" Aaron - Ross Rossin - Oil on canvas, 2010

"Hammerin' Hank" is coming to town. Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron turns 80 today (Happy Birthday Hank!) and will appear at the National Portrait Gallery Saturday, when the gallery unveils his Living Self-Portrait "Hank," created by renowned artist Ross Rossin. Aaron will talk about his life and career with ESPN's Howard Bryant in the McEvoy Auditorium at noon. The event is free, but be sure to arrive early (doors open at 11:30 AM.)

Aaron was a 25x time All-Star (MLB used to hold two All-Star a games per year from 1959-62) and holds the MLB record for most seasons as an All-Star (21.) He's perhaps most famous for breaking Babe Ruth's career home run record (714) in 1974... before wrapping up his illustrious career with 755 HRs, 2,297 RBIs and 6,856 total bases (both still all-time records) 3,771 hits (third all-time, behind Pete Rose & Ty Cobb) and a .305 batting average. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 with the second-highest percentage of ballots (97.8) ever (second only to Cobb, back in 1936.) If you're trying to put those numbers into perspective, allow me to help: Aaron is one of the five greatest baseball players ever.

Before Saturday's event, Aaron will be honored at a private reception at the Hay-Adams Hotel on Friday night. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will be in attendance, as will Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson and others.