MOBILE, AL - APRIL 14: This baseball icon commemorating Hank Aaron's home run record hangs at the entrance to the Hank Aaron Stadium during ceremonies opening the Hank Aaron Museum on April 14, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama. Aaron's final home run was hit as a member of the Brewers. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)
On this day in 1974, a Milwaukee legend returned to the city after nine years away. The Brewers acquired Hank Aaron from the Braves in exchange for outfielder Dave May and a player to be named later (minor league pitcher Roger Alexander).
Aaron had been a Brave for nearly all of the franchise's 13 seasons in Milwaukee, debuting in 1954 and playing in 145 or more games every year between 1955-65. He represented Milwaukee in eleven All Star games (plus one as a Brewer in 1975), led the National League in home runs and runs twice and RBI three times, won three Gold Gloves and the 1957 NL MVP.
Aaron was starting to show his age a bit toward the end of his nine seasons in Atlanta. His .832 OPS in his final season with the Braves was his lowest in 20 years, and his 112 games played were the lowest total of his major league career. His decline continued in Milwaukee, where he hit .232/.326/.360 over his final two seasons. Nonetheless, the final 22 of Aaron's 755 career home runs and 95 of his all time record 2297 RBI came in a Brewer uniform.
At the time of his departure Dave May was the Brewers' all time leader in hits (637), runs (311) and games played (678), but he didn't bring much with him to Atlanta. The Braves dealt him to Texas after just two seasons, and he eventually returned to the Brewers in 1978 in the final year of his career. Roger Alexander, the other player traded for Aaron, had been a third round pick two years earlier but never reached the majors.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- Taylor Green, who turns 25.
- 2000-01 Brewer Paul Rigdon, who turns 36.
- 1984 Brewer Paul Hartzell, who turns 58.