Alabama lowers flags to honor Mobile native Hank Aaron

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state of Alabama lowered flags to half-staff to honor Mobile native and baseball great Hank Aaron, who died Friday.

Gov. Kay Ivey ordered the honor to recognize Aaron and expressed sympathy to relatives, friends and former teammates of the sports legend.

“Alabama is incredibly proud of our native son, and his legacy will forever be etched in history,” she said in a statement.

Born in 1934 when Alabama was still racially segregated by law, Aaron faced racism as a Black man in the sport despite his incredible talent. Aaron has a minor league baseball stadium named in his honor in Mobile, and his childhood home was moved to the site and is a museum.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson sent a tweet saying he was saddened by Aaron's death.

“He represented the best of our City as a humanitarian, business leader, philanthropist and a national baseball icon. We join so many in mourning his loss and honoring his legacy,” it said.

Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974 while playing with the Atlanta Braves and was later surpassed by Barry Bonds, was 86.