“the same house Hank helped build”
Three years ago, the Mobile BayBears came up with a unique idea for a Minor League park: move a baseball legend’s childhood home to the front steps of their ballpark and turn it into a museum. That man was Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, the Mobile native and the MLB Home Run King with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. Aaron came from humble beginnings, growing up in a house that he helped his father build at age 8 from scrap wood and salvaged materials. The house still stands with much of its original form intact, but in a new location. In 2010, the BayBears moved the house across the city of Mobile to its current perch right outside of the main gates of Hank Aaron Stadium. The house is an amazing site for diehard baseball fans from all walks, not just Braves fans. Even a casual baseball fan can spend hours perusing the memorabilia and original items donated from The Hammer’s personal collection, including game-worn jerseys, his original Louisville Slugger contract, his 1959 Gold Glove, as well as other items donated by the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Negro League Baseball Museum. The museum also gives visitors a glimpse of Hank’s childhood with items ranging from bricks and nails from the original house to Hank’s father’s brief case and canes. When visitors first enter the home, they are greeted with a video from Hank himself welcoming them in and telling them about his childhood and coming to baseball. Along the walls there is an extensive history of Negro Leagues baseball in Mobile, including an original Mobile Bears jersey from before integration. Then as you move through the house, the story of Hank is told chronologically, beginning with his parents, Herbert and Estella, and his seven siblings. The exterior of the museum was built to replicate the original house. It is not the original wood. However, the interior walls and the floors are all original. In the kitchen, about 10 percent of what is hanging on the walls was what Estella Aaron had hanging in her kitchen when she lived there, including the wallpaper. Estella gave her blessing to turn the house into a museum, as did Hank. Hank actually said that when the museum was opened up in 2010 that it was “the greatest day I have ever had in my entire life.” A number of baseball legends were at the grand opening, including Willie Mays, Bob Feller, Rickey Henderson, Bruce Sutter, Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
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Hank Aaron's Childhood Home & Museum
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