16. “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron
Nicknames do not have to be creative. Nor do they require a sentimental background story.
Sometimes, a simple and to the point the point nickname will suffice. Hank Aaron is a prime example.
Aaron is universally considered to be one of the greatest hitters of all-time, and has a fitting nickname to go along with such stature. “Hammerin’ Hank” is what he grew to be known by, as he hammered his way into the MLB record books.
The greatest accomplishment of his magnificent career came during the 1974 season. At one point in Aaron’s career, he recorded 30 or more home runs in 15 out of 17 seasons. As a result of this consistency, he was able to break Babe Ruth’s 39-year old record of 715 career home runs. Aaron would finish his career with 755 total home runs, a record that would stand until 2007.
While Hammerin’ Hanks’s career home run mark may not stand atop the all-time list today, he still holds several MLB records. He currently ranks first all-time in career RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477).
Perhaps the most impressive part of Aaron’s greatness is that he performed at such an exceptional rate despite mounting outside distractions. Racial prejudice emerged at the forefront of his chase to break Babe Ruth’s career home run record, with the Atlanta Braves even receiving death threats intended for their star player.
Aaron persevered, however, and the legend of Hammerin’ Hank lives on today.
Next: 15. The Human Rain Delay