We lost the legendary Aaron in January 2021.
He was one of the greatest baseball players of All-Time and was a key figure during the Civil Rights movement as well. Aaron, who holds the MLB record for All-Star selections with 25, famously broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in April 1974.
His 755 homers stood as the Major League record for 33 years before Barry Bonds became the leader of the club.
47 years ago today, Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run & broke Babe Ruth's all-time record.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 8, 2021
The All-Star Game was originally scheduled to be held in Atlanta, home of the Braves and the uniform Aaron donned when becoming the home run champion. But after voter suppression laws were passed in the state of Georgia, Major League Baseball decided to move the game to Denver, Colorado.
Even with the venue change, the initiative to honor the legacy of one of the all-time greats stays the same.
First, the cleats:
Nike along with Ken Griffey Jr. partnered to design the “Air Griffey Metal Hank” cleats. The cleat is exclusively given to each Nike athlete participating in the All-Star Game and honors Aaron’s legacy both on and off the field.
Different elements from each team Aaron played for are used in the design of the cleat:
The Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues red tongue and heel pull tags, the Milwaukee Braves crimson heel swoosh, the Atlanta Braves grey swoosh on the ankle-straps tabs, and mudguard pinstripes, and the Milwaukee Brewers blue and gold eye stay.
Aaron’s motto “Keep Swinging” is on the side of the cleat and his career stats are inside the shoe. His “44” also replaces the normal Griffey “24”.
The sock liner features a “44” bottle cap, which refers to Aaron’s childhood penchant to practice his swing using found objects.
These new Nike Air Griffey Metal pay homage to the legendary Hank Aaron for the MLB All-Star Game. ⚾️? pic.twitter.com/tvnoAl3Eyo
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) July 8, 2021
Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation:
Nike is also pledging $104,000 to the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation’s “4 for 4” programs, providing at least $4,000 per year for four years to students attending historically Black colleges and universities.
Aaron was famously quoted saying “I see these young kids coming along now and they are chasing their dreams. It just so happens that their dreams cost a little bit more than mine did. I am hoping they catch it and they can do the things they want to do in life.”
This season, MLB is doing something a little different with the All-Star jerseys. Instead of players wearing their team’s home and away uniforms, Nike has designed a uniform that will commemorate one of baseball’s highest honors – an All-Star selection.
Players will have stars on the back of their jerseys for each time they have appeared at the game. It will also feature their team logo and a patch that pays respect to the host Colorado Rockies. The National League is considered the home team and will be wearing white while the American League will wear blue.
These uniforms will be worn on Tuesday, July 13 during the game, but Monday Night Baseball will honor Hank Aaron in what is a highly-anticipated Home Run Derby.