GRAMBLING, LA (KTVE/KARD)– Across the country, Americans are mourning the loss of the baseball legend, Hank Aaron, and remembering his career. However, at Grambling State University he’s known for so much more than just baseball…like his big heart, his friendship, and an icon many HBCU student athletes look up to.
In 2015, Hank Aaron visited Grambling State University to receive an honorary doctoral degree, the university’s highest honor. That same day, he also donated 10 thousand dollars to the Eddie G. Robinson museum on campus. Former Grambling baseball coach, Wilbert Ellis, say that day in 2015 will be remembered forever, and so will his legacy.
“I consider him as one of the best baseball players of all time. Not only for hitting those home runs but the way he played the game,” said Wilbert Ellis, Former GSU Baseball Coach.
Aaron was the first player in Major League history to record 500 homers and 3 thousand hits. Later on, he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record. For James Cooper, Grambling’s current head baseball coach, says Aaron is one of the reasons he loves baseball.
“My grandfather was an Atlanta Braves fan and it was solely because of Hank Aaron. So naturally, I grew up as an Atlanta fan. I didn’t get a chance to see Hank play,” said James Cooper, head baseball coach at GSU.
But Aaron’s journey to success didn’t come easy as he endured racial slurs and threats. Many say this is how Aaron paved the way for black athletes who dreamed to find themselves in his shoes one day.
‘The black athlete, he taught them the way they should go and the way they can accel in life,” said Ellis.
Now, many hope the game of baseball can be used to unite our country, just the way Hank Aaron would have liked it.
“I think some of the things he stood for was togetherness. I think this is something our country has been battling with the past couple of years,” said Cooper.
While Hank Aaron has passed away, his contributions to baseball, young people, and Grambling State University will live on forever.
“I know hank is gone but hank will always live because what he meant to so many people and what he done for humanity,” said
In addition, Aarons son, Hank Aaron Jr., worked at Wilbert Ellis’ Youth Baseball camp 2 years in a row.