Much has been made of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run, the shot that catapulted him past Babe Ruth as baseball’s all-time home run king, from the sports legend’s iconic moment to Britt Gaston and Cliff Courtenay, the two 17-year-olds that congratulated Aaron on his way around the bases.
In 2014, the Braves organization will once again show its respects: the franchise will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Aaron’s home run by wearing ‘715’ patches this season, the team announced on Tuesday. The patch will be worn on players’ and coaches’ right sleeves.
The patch features The Hammer’s signature over the shape of home plate.
"We are delighted to honor Hank and recognize this momentous occasion," said Braves President John Schuerholz. "It was such an enormous milestone for him, for our team and for Major League Baseball, and we believe it deserves a season-long celebration."
The historic moment took place at Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, against Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, a 5-foot-11 left-hander who was also at the tail end of a career that spanned 123 wins and more than 2,200 innings pitched. (Here’s the box score from the game.) Aaron completed his career with 755 home runs, though only 221 came off southpaws. It’s rather fitting, though, that the homer came off a Dodgers pitcher: the two pitchers who gave up the most home runs to Aaron over his career — Hall of Famer Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen — were also Dodgers.
The Braves play the New York Mets on April 8 this season, where they will honor Aaron in a pregame ceremony.