Cooperstown, N.Y - “You don’t throw around the word ‘iconic’ too often,” said Tim Mead, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
As a sports world mourns the passing of Hank Aaron, 86, the National Baseball Hall of Fame adds him to a heartbreaking list of Hall of Famer's they’ve lost over the past 10 months.
“When you think about Hank Aaron, he's iconic because not just what he accomplished in uniform in the game but really what he did throughout the totality of his career,” said Mead. “Obviously the chase for the homerun record with Babe Ruth and the period of time in the history of when he played ball it took on a whole other story then just a game itself.”
This is largest group of Hall of Famers to pass away in less than a year since its inception. The Hall says the feeling is unexplainable.
“It's almost devastating and unbelievable and surreal and every adjective that you really can come up with because there's no explaining it,” said Mead. “But to have these ten men pass, it's very, very tough and it's a reminder of the fragility of life, of the uniqueness of looking at all these men collectively as people.”
Messages of anecdotes and condolences poured out on social media for Aaron from former teammates and competitors.
“It's hard when we look at it as a number. I mean, sports is a game of statistics. So when we look at ten in ten months and we look at three in 22 days of 2021. At the end of the day they are lives and they are lives well-lived and their legacies that will be remembered for generations to come; particularly, Hank’s for everything he did,” said Mead.
On Friday the governor of Georgia ordered flags to fly a half-staff to honor Hank Aaron.
“I think today’s loss is certainly a tremendous loss for the Hall of fame family but also for the Atlanta Braves, the game of baseball, the community of baseball and really the country itself as far as I’m concerned,” said Mead.
This summer the Hall will induct two classes making it the biggest induction ceremony in its history and honor those whom they have lost.
“I have no doubt that come July we will have something special put together and we hope today concludes that list that we will have to focus on and pay attention to in July,” said Mead.