Today In Brewer History: Welcome to the Show, Hank Aaron

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Hank Aaron played 3298 games in the majors, and 59 years ago today he played the first one.

On this day in 1954 the Milwaukee Braves opened their season in wild fashion, losing 9-8 to the Reds. Eddie Mathews had a pair of home runs in the game as the two teams combined for 26 hits and eight walks. The most notable player in this game, however, didn't reach base a single time. Batting fifth and playing in left field, Hank Aaron went 0-for-5 in his major league debut.

Aaron was slightly more than two months removed from his 20th birthday, and was only in the majors because the Braves' regular left fielder, Bobby Thomson, had broken his ankle during spring training. Aaron quickly proved himself as a hitter, though, and never went back to the minors.

By the end of April 1954 Aaron was hitting .333/.379/.519, and he finished the season with a .280/.322/.447 line. The next season he made his first of All Star appearances in 21 consecutive seasons, and two years after that he won his MVP award and World Series.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:

Today is also the 60th anniversary of the Braves' first game following their move to Milwaukee, which we covered in this space last year, and the 28th anniversary of Rollie Fingers setting an American League career record with his 217th save. We covered that event in this space two years ago.
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