The death of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron on Friday was a monumental loss to the sports world. Aaron, who was 86, left an immeasurable legacy on and off the diamond as both the one-time home run king and an ambassador for the sport during the civil rights era.
Aaron was, and remains, an especially beloved member of the Atlanta sports scene considering he played almost all of his illustrious career with the Braves organization. So it's not surprising to see many Atlanta-based teams honoring Aaron. On Saturday, one day after Aaron's death, Georgia Tech announced it would temporarily retire the No. 44 -- Aaron's number -- for the 2021 season. In doing so, the Yellow Jackets join the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC. Junior linebacker Quez Jackson wore No. 44 for Georgia Tech football in 2020 and volunteered to give up his number.
"For me personally and as a program that represents the great city of Atlanta, we are very saddened by the passing of Hank Aaron," Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said in a statement released by the school. "After reflecting on what he meant to our city, our nation and the world, we're proud to join the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United in retiring the No. 44 for the upcoming season. In addition to honoring 'Hammerin' Hank's' memory, we'll use the coming days and months as an opportunity to educate our student-athletes on the immeasurable impact that he made in our society, not only on the field, but in the civil rights movement in America."
Though Aaron's record of 755 home runs would eventually be broken, many of his other MLB records still stand. Aaron hit .305/.374/.555 (155 OPS+) with 624 doubles, 2,297 RBI, 2,174 runs, 3,771 hits and 240 stolen bases. He retired as the all-time home run leader and held the record for decades. He's still the all-time leader in RBI and total bases. He also holds the record for the most All-Star games at 25 and the most seasons as an All Star at 21.