Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron — thought by many to be Major League Baseball's "legitimate" home-run king — has died at 86, his daughter said on Friday. Aaron, who played from 1954 to 1976, mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, finished his career with 755 home runs — a record that stood until 2006, when he was surpassed by the steroid-assisted Barry Bonds.
Aaron still holds major-league records for RBI, extra-base hits, and total bases, and won his lone MVP award in leading Milwaukee to the 1957 World Series title. But Aaron is also revered for his fortitude in facing down racism as he chased Babe Ruth's career home run record in the early 1970's. "When people finally realized I was climbing up Ruth's back, the 'Dear N----r' letters started showing up with alarming regularity," he wrote in his 1991 memoir. "There's no way to measure the effect those letters had on me, but I like to think every one of them added another home run to my total." The Associated Press reports Aaron died peacefully in his sleep.
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