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Falcons retire Atlanta legend Hank Aaron’s No. 44 for 2021 season

The Atlanta community lost a one of the greatest icon in sports history on Friday.

With the inevitable passage of time, mankind loses heroes, icons and legends. On Friday morning, it was announced that former Atlanta Braves star Henry “Hank” Aaron passed away at the age of 86.

Despite playing for the small-market Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves throughout his major league career that spanned from 1954 to 1976, Aaron will be remembered as one of the true greats of the sport. To this day, Aaron still holds major league records for RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477), and overtook Babe Ruth’s MLB home run record in one of the greatest momentsi n the history of the league. While he was alive he was frequently lauded as one of the sport’s greatest players and greatest men, and an outpouring of grief and memories followed his death.

Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank released a statement Friday afternoon:

“We are heartbroken and saddened by this morning’s passing of baseball legend, trailblazer and icon, Henry “Hank” Aaron,” Arthur Blank said. “He not only made a great impact on the diamond, but in society as well with his caring and genuine spirit, always taking the time to be a friend to all. As an original member of the Falcons Board of Directors, he served as a mentor to so many of our players throughout the years, providing a source of knowledge and support on what it takes to build a winning culture while always displaying a great deal of humility. We loved Hank and his wife, Billye, and we are truly saddened by his passing. May he rest in peace.”

To honor the legacy of Hammerin’ Hank, the Falcons and Atlanta United of the MLS announced that they will both be retiring his No. 44 for their 2021 seasons.

“When you look at icons of Atlanta and the sport of baseball, Hank Aaron is undoubtedly included in that group,” Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay said. “But he was more than an icon in sports, he was an icon off the field as well in how he carried himself and treated others. Because of that we are honored to celebrate his awe-inspiring life by retiring number 44 this season for our Atlanta Falcons. He was a true icon and yet when you encountered him, he always made you feel special. He was a great ambassador for the game of baseball, a great ambassador of the City of Atlanta and quite simply a great person.”

Aaron finished his MLB career with a host of accolades. He was the National League MVP in 1957 (the same year the Braves won the World Series), a two-time NL batting champion (1956, 1959), a three-time Gold Glove winner in right field (1958-1960) and a record 25-time All-Star. It’s never easy to accept the passing of an icon that many of us grew up hearing about, and some of you might have been fortunate enough to watch play the game of baseball.

Rest in peace to a true legend who will forever be idolized in the city of Atlanta.