The Atlanta Falcons will honor the memory of MLB legend Henry “Hank” Aaron during the 2021 NFL season. The Falcons announced Friday that the team will retire No. 44 in 2021 to pay tribute to Aaron.
The Falcons won’t be the only Atlanta team to retire the number. Atlanta United FC — which is also owned by Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank — will also retire No. 44 in 2021.
We and @ATLUTD will retire No. 44 for the 2021 seasons in honor of Atlanta legend Hank Aaron.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 22, 2021
In a statement, Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay called Aaron an icon “of Atlanta and the sport of baseball.”
Cornerback Tyler Hall wore No. 44 with the Falcons in 2020. In nine games, Hall recorded six tackles.
MLB stars also pay tribute to Hank Aaron
Aaron spent 21 of his 23 seasons in MLB with the Braves. He first joined the team in Milwaukee, and remained with the team when it moved to Atlanta in 1966. He eventually went back to Milwaukee for his final two seasons, playing for the Brewers. In 23 seasons in MLB, Aaron had 3,771 hits, a record 2,297 RBIs and 755 home runs. In 1974, Aaron passed Babe Ruth as baseball’s all-time home run leader. That record stood for 31 years before Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2007. Aaron is considered one of the best baseball players of all time, and was revered by both his contemporaries and current MLB players.
A number of current and former MLB stars paid tribute to Aaron on Friday. Bonds called Aaron “a true baseball legend,” Mike Trout said Aaron was an “inspiration,” and Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker called Aaron “the best person that I ever knew.”
MLB released two statements remembering Aaron’s legacy — one from current commissioner Rob Manfred and another from former MLB commissioner Bud Selig. The league did not announce Friday whether it would honor Aaron during the 2021 MLB season.
The Braves also shared a statement about Aaron’s death. The team retired the No. 44 in 1977 in honor of Aaron.
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