Hank Aaron's Invitational: Giving Young Baseball Prospects A Chance To Showcase Their Talents
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published in August of 2019. We are sharing again as we celebrate the life and legacy of Hank Aaron.
Saturday morning, 44 baseball prospects from around the country will take the field at SunTrust Park as part of the first ever Hank Aaron Invitational showcase game.
The event is part of a week long celebration of the Braves’ legend, known as Hank Aaron Week.
During a luncheon on Friday with Ambassador Andrew Young, the Hall of Famer shared stories from his career, including how he overcame hatred to become baseball's home run king.
Hank 'The Hammer' Aaron enters Paschal's in Atlanta, welcomed by 44 of the up and coming athletes training through the Hank Aaron Invitational.#ChopOn @gpbnews pic.twitter.com/YKzK9no2cf— Taylor Gantt (@TaylorGantt2112) August 2, 2019
“Those moments that I had back then taught me a lesson," Aaron said. “No matter what you take for granted, you try to do the very best you could to be sure that you made things worthwhile.”
The diverse group of players chosen for Saturday’s game received specialized training through Aaron’s program in Vero Beach, Florida at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex.
The Hank Aaron Invitational is part of an effort to give minority athletes, especially black youths, an extra chance to make their baseball dreams come true.
At the same time, the number of Latino players jumped all the way to 27% in 2017.
White athletes still make up more than 60% of the league’s player base.
Hammerin’ Hank Aaron retired in 1976 as the home run king, famously passing Babe Ruth’s record of 714 back in 1974.
Although Barry Bonds would go on to surpass that number, many still insist that Aaron is the true record holder due to repeated allegations that Bonds used steroids to inflate his numbers.