Who are some of the recent African-American stars in major league baseball?

Those who have risen to prominence in major league baseball include Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson (“Mr. October”), and Barry Bonds. Reginald “Reggie” Martinez Jackson (1946–), led his team to five world championships and eleven division titles. Ranked sixth in home runs (563) when he retired, he also led the league with 2,597 strikeouts in his twenty-year career. He became a cultural phenomenon as a New York Yankee player against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series on October 18, 1977. In three consecutive times at bat, he hit three home runs, batted a .450 average, and afterward became affectionately known as “Mr. October.” Sporting News placed him on its list of “The 100 Greatest Baseball Players.” Playing for the Atlanta Braves, on April 8, 1974, Hank (Henry Louis) Aaron (1934–), “Hammering Hank,” hit his 715th home run in a game with the Los Angeles Dodgers to beat Babe Ruth’s major league record. He led the National League in runs batted in four times. Aaron retired in 1976 with 755 regular-season home runs to his credit, and became vice president of player personnel for the Braves. He was named senior vice president in 1989. In 1982 Aaron was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1991 he published his autobiography, I Had a Hammer, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for ten weeks. Aaron’s chase for the home-run record was one of the most dramatic stories in sports history, made all the more so because Aaron did not revel in his stardom. Many, but not all, cheered as he inched toward dethroning the legendary Ruth; others sent death threats. He set many records, most of which he still holds. Aaron was a National League all-star twenty-three times between 1952 and 1976. Willie Mays (1931–) had a phenomenal home-run hitting record with the New York Giants and later the San Francisco Giants. Because he caught, hit, threw, and ran spectacularly, he has been called the greatest all-round baseball player ever. Big-league slugger Barry Bonds became a superstar, first with the Pittsburgh Pirates and later with the San Francisco Giants. In August 2007, Barry Bonds eclipsed Aaron’s home run record with 756 homers.


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