For Immediate Release: January 22, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
Statement from President Clinton on the Passing of Hank Aaron
With the passing of Hank Aaron, baseball has lost one of its greatest heroes, America has lost an inspiring role model and philanthropist, and I have lost a wonderful friend.
For more than two decades, Hank was baseball’s most consistent hitter, a feat rooted in his focus, his humility, and his respect for the game. He worked hard every day, never got too high or too low, and always knew the end of a slump was just one swing away. His remarkable concentration on the field was even more impressive given the discrimination he faced throughout his career, and which got much worse as he approached the home run record.
After retiring, Hank was an important fixture in Atlanta’s civic life, as he and his wife, Billye, continued to advocate for civil rights and create opportunities for underprivileged young people to pursue their dreams.
My life was blessed by his friendship, kindness, and generosity. I first met him during my 1992 campaign, when on the weekend before Election Day he appeared with me at an event in Atlanta. There were 25,000 people there, and three days later I carried Georgia by 13,000 votes. For the rest of his life, he never let me forget who was responsible for my win in Georgia. I’ll always remember the dinner in Atlanta celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 715th home run, celebrating his 75th and 80th birthdays, and all our other visits. He and Billye were beautiful together, doing good and being good.
Hillary and I send our thoughts and prayers to Billye, their family, and the countless people whose lives he touched—by his bat, his caring gifts, and his friendship. Hank Aaron’s entire life was a home run.