Atlanta Braves, players across country hit hard by death of Hank Aaron

ATLANTA — The news of Hank Aaron’s death hit the Atlanta Braves especially hard Friday.

It’s been a brutal three weeks for the organization and Braves fans everywhere as three Hall of Famers with huge ties to the Braves passed away.

First Phil Niekro died , then it was Don Sutton just two days ago.

Friday brought Aaron’s death at the age of 86, the man most associated with the franchise.

Chipper Jones told Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein that everything and everyone stopped when Hank Aaron would walk out on the field.

Jones said every single time, Aaron made you feel special.

“Whenever Hank was in the building and was down on the field, 100% guys would come up to me and say, ‘Hey, would you introduce me to Hank?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t have to, just walk to him. I mean, he’s just the nicest guy,’” Jones said.

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Jones said he was always amazed when he looked on the back of Aaron’s baseball card.

“The print is so small because he was there for like 25 years’ worth of stats. It’s hard for me to believe they put that many numbers on the back of a little piece of cardboard,” Jones said.

Hall of Famer Greg Maddux said Aaron was one of his childhood heroes.

“He kind of set the mark for homeruns and it seems like Barry (Bonds) and all the other guys were always trying to chase him down and was fortunate enough to have a couple of conversations with him and (he was) a class act, good man and really one of baseball’s heroes,” Maddux said.

“When I got drafted by the Braves, I didn’t know a whole lot about Atlanta, but I knew Hank Aaron. So it certainly was a franchise that was neat to be a part of,” Hall of Famer Tom Glavine said.

Every Atlanta sports franchise has offered their condolences to the Aarons and the entire Braves family.

The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United announced Friday that they will retire Hank Aaron’s No. 44 for the 2021 season.