Hank Aaron photo from the December 1960 issue of Baseball Digest
The Dallas Morning News, Monday, July 15, 1968, Sports Section B, Page One, Courtesy of Genealogy Bank
Aaron Slams 500th Homer
Atlanta (AP) – Hank Aaron became the eighth player in the major leagues to hit 500 home runs Sunday and his three-run shot in the third inning sparked the Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 victory over San Francisco.
Aaron hit his historic homer after Felipe Alou and Felix Millan singled with two out. It was a 400-foot blast over the fence in left-center field off left-hander Mike McCormick.
The 34-year-old outfielder was met at the plate by all his team-mates and Bill Bratholomay, president of the Braves, who presented him with a trophy.
Aaron barely missed a homer in the first inning when his long drive curved foul by about a foot. The game was delayed for almost an hour by rain in the second inning and a steady rain fell for a while after Aaron’s homer and threatened to wash it out.
The three runs were all rookie Ron Reed needed to record his ninth victory in 13 decisions. He lost a shutout in the eighth when Bob Schroeder tripled and scored on Ty Cline’s grounder and needed help from Cecil Upshaw in the ninth when Dick Dietz singles home the Giants’ second run.
Aaron hit his 498th and 499th homers exactly a week ago. He said he wasn’t worried about his 500th “because it’ll come.”
The magic mark for sluggers has been passed only by Babe Ruth, who holds the record of 714; Willie Mays, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews and Mel Ott.
Mays, Mantle and Mathews are the only 500-homer hitters still active, and all are in the waning stages of their careers.
Aaron, however, still expects to have two or three good years, and most baseball experts predict that he will go over the 600-homer mark, which only Ruth has passed.
“I think I’ve got a couple of my regular years left,” said Aaron, who has 19 homers already this season and has never hit less than 26 since his rookie season in 1954.
He cracked his first big-league homer off Vic Raschi of the St. Louis Cardinals on April 23, 1954, in his seventh game in the majors. His 100th came against the Cincinnati Redleg’s Don Gross, Aug. 15, 1957. His 200th was against the Cardinals on July 3, 1960. The 300th came April 19, 1963, against Roger Craig of the New York Mets.
The first 398 were hit for Milwaukee Braves, the last 102 since the Braves moved to Atlanta for the 1966 season.
Aaron’s season high is 45, hit in 1962. He hit 44 three times.
Favorite pitching patsy for Aaron has been Don Drysdale, Los Angeles hurler enjoying his best season. Drysdale has yielded 17 homers to Aaron.