The contributions of Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron extend far beyond his 755 home runs.
Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record in 1974 and became the first player to rap more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.
On June 20, however, Major League Baseball will honor Aaron with the MLB Beacon of Life Award.
The honor recognizes an individual whose life is emblematic of the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, for the "grace and dignity with which he conducted himself throughout his career."
The Chasing the Dream Foundation, established by Aaron and his wife, Billye, in 1994, has provided financial support and mentoring to hundreds of youth throughout the country and on military bases around the world to enable them to pursue their talents in music, dance, art, science, literature and athletics.
Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby also will be Honored with MLB Beacon of Change,
Beacon of Life and Beacon of Hope awards. CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent Soledad O’Brien will be Mistress of Ceremonies.
President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the award ceremony. Proceeds from
the luncheon will benefit the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, the Cincinnati Reds Community Fund and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
The Gillette Civil Rights Game and the ancillary events were developed to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans.
“I’m proud to join Major League Baseball to honor my friends Muhammad Ali, Hank Aaron, and Bill
Cosby, American legends whose lives have inspired millions throughout the world and who have helped make America the multiracial and multiethnic place it is today,” President Clinton said in a statement. “Their contributions to our shared mission of forming a ‘more perfect union’ has been truly historic.”
The luncheon will precede the Civil Rights game between the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park.