ST. LOUIS, Mo- Hank Aaron’s first major league home run was at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. The site is now the location for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis. Some of the club’s members have received scholarships made possible by the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation.
“He used his position, his fame and his success, to continue to open doors and create opportunity for others,” said Flint Fowler, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.
12-year-old Amir Harris is a Boys & Girls Club member in St. Louis. He was a recent recipient of a Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Scholarship. His mother, Kaila Massey, said the award allowed her to purchase athletic supplies and pay for the costs of playing in a basketball league.
“He was also able to get a new basketball hoop so he could practice at home,” she said.
Massey and her family spent part of Friday reading about the racism Aaron faced and how he persevered through all the adversity. She said, “The way that he was able to break records and barriers for people of color and then just to continue to give back, that speaks volumes.”
Aaron also had a well-documented friendship with St. Louis Cardinals baseball great Stan Musial. One of Aaron’s final awards came in December when the St. Louis Sports Commission honored him with the Stan Musial lifetime achievement award.
“The sportsmanship award was so meaningful to Hank Aaron because it was in Stan Musial’s name,” said St. Louis Sports Commission president Frank Viverito.
Viverito was grateful Aaron was willing to be honored. He said, “It just gives you chills to have someone like that respect Stan Musial and respect the value of sportsmanship, civility and kindness.”