Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hank Aaron Coming to National Portrait Gallery

Hank Aaron by Ross Rossin (via; oil on canvas, 48x48in
Arguably the best baseball player in the world, ever, will be in DC this weekend. Hank Aaron, the former all-time Major League Baseball home run leader, will be at the Smithsonian Institution on Saturday. The National Portrait Gallery is hosting Aaron in order to formerly receive his portrait by artist Ross Rossin. Aaron, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, will be interviewed by author and journalist Howard Bryant. The portrait is actually already hung, and is on the first floor of the Gallery.

Aaron held the MLB record for most home runs hit from 1974 until 2007, when the record was surpassed by San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds. Bond's record (762 home runs) appears safe for a while; the next closest active players are Alex Rodriguez (654), Manny Ramirez (555), Albert Pujols (492), and Adam Dunn (440). While I admire Bonds, his too-close-but-not-totally-verified links to performance enhancing drugs means that I personally consider Aaron, with 755, the greatest American home run hitter of all time.

From the Smithsonian:

What: Live interview with Hank Aaron hosted by Howard Bryant of ESPN and portrait of Aaron by Ross R. Rossin on view in first-floor gallery

When: Saturday, February 8, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

Where: Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium, National Portrait Gallery, Eighth and G streets NW

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery hosts a living self-portrait with baseball star Hank Aaron in celebration of his 80th birthday. ESPN’s Howard Bryant will host the interview in the museum’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. A portrait of Aaron by Ross R. Rossin was recently installed on the first floor of the museum.

Aaron is senior vice president of Atlanta National League Baseball Club Inc. Before joining the Atlanta Braves’ front office, Aaron enjoyed a 23-year major league career. He holds more major league batting records than any other player in the game’s history. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1982. Aaron has received numerous civic awards, including the Presidential Citizens Medal, awarded by President Bill Clinton, and the Medal of Freedom, awarded by President George W. Bush. With his wife Billye, he is the founder of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation.

Guest interviewer Howard Bryant is a senior writer for and ESPN the Magazine. He wrote The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron (2010). A journalist for 23 years, he was previously a columnist at the Boston Herald and covered the New York Yankees for the Bergen Record and the Oakland A’s for the San Jose Mercury News. He has also been the sports correspondent for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon since 2006.