(Reuters) - Following are some of the reactions to the death of baseball’s Hank Aaron, who died on Friday at the age of 86.
U.S. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN
“With courage and dignity, he eclipsed the most hallowed record in sports while absorbing vengeance that would have broken most people. But he was unbreakable ... each time he rounded those bases — an astonishing 755 trips home — he melted away more and more of the ice of bigotry to show that we can be better as a people and as a nation.”
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
“Hank Aaron was one of the best baseball players we’ve ever seen and one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Aaron family and everyone who was inspired by this unassuming man and his towering example.”
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
“The former Home Run King wasn’t handed his throne. He grew up poor and faced racism as he worked to become one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Hank never let the hatred he faced consume him.”
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER
“One of the greatest baseball players of all time, he has been a personal hero to us. A breaker of records and racial barriers, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire countless athletes and admirers for generations to come.”
THREE-TIME WORLD SERIES CHAMPION DAVID ORTIZ
“A legend on and off the ball field ... the best to ever do it ... RIP Mr Hank Aaron.”
MLB ALL-TIME HOME RUN LEADER BARRY BONDS
“Hank Aaron - thank you for everything you ever taught us, for being a trailblazer through adversity and setting an example for all of us African American ball players who came after you.
“Being able to grow up and have the idols and role models I did, helped shape me for a future I could have never dreamed of. Hank’s passing will be felt by all of us who love the game and his impact will forever be cemented in my heart.”
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER ROBERT MANFRED
“Hank Aaron is near the top of everyone’s list of all-time great players. His monumental achievements as a player were surpassed only by his dignity and integrity as a person.
“Hank symbolized the very best of our game, and his all-around excellence provided Americans and fans across the world with an example to which to aspire. His career demonstrates that a person who goes to work with humility every day can hammer his way into history – and find a way to shine like no other.”
ATLANTA BRAVES CHAIRMAN TERRY MCGUIRK
“He was a beacon for our organization first as a player, then with player development, and always with our community efforts. His incredible talent and resolve helped him achieve the highest accomplishments, yet he never lost his humble nature.”
NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME CHAIRMAN JANE FORBES CLARK
“Hank Aaron’s incredible talent on the baseball field was only matched by his dignity and character, which shone brightly, not only here in Cooperstown, but with every step he took.
“His courage while pursuing the game’s all-time home run record served as an example for millions of people inside and outside of the sports world, who were also aspiring to achieve their greatest dreams.”
BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER MAGIC JOHNSON
“I still remember where I was back in the day when he set the record, at that time, to become the home run all time leader ... Hank Aaron is on the Mount Rushmore for the greatest baseball players of all time!”
GRAMMY-AWARD WINNING SINGER-SONGWRITER LENNY KRAVITZ
“Hank Aaron, my childhood baseball hero, has gone home. Watching him break Babe Ruth’s record for most home runs on television was a monumental moment. As a young Black child, he inspired me to push for excellence. Rest easy Sir.”
CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST REV. AL SHARPTON
“We celebrate the life and journey of the great, #HankAaron. He was a great athlete and a great person. May he Rest In Peace and Power.”
ATLANTA MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS
“While the world knew him as ‘Hammering Hank Aaron’ because of his incredible, record-setting baseball career, he was a cornerstone of our village, graciously and freely joining Mrs. Aaron in giving their presence and resources toward making our city a better place.”
FORMER MLB COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG
“Besides being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Hank was a wonderful and dear person and a wonderful and dear friend.
“Not long ago, he and I were walking the streets of Washington, D.C., together and talking about how we’ve been the best of friends for more than 60 years. Then Hank said: ‘Who would have ever thought all those years ago that a black kid from Mobile, Alabama, would break Babe Ruth’s home run record and a Jewish kid from Milwaukee would become the Commissioner of Baseball?’”
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME QUARTERBACK WARREN MOON
“My heartfelt prayers go out to the Hank Aaron family as a sports icon passed away today! Not only was he an unbelievable baseball player, he was extremely humble, very philanthropic, and a mentor for thousands of athletes in all sports. RIP Hammerin Hank.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Howard Goller, Robert Birsel
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