Baseball historian says Hank Aaron’s pro career likely began in Nashville at Sulphur Field


Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- Hank Aaron will be remembered as one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

Best known as “Hammering Hank” the Alabama native eclipsed Babe Ruth as the game’s home run king.

Nashville Baseball Historian Skip Nipper shares that he did it all with grace, battling through hate mail and even death threats.

“With so much attention that went to him after hitting .714 and the hate mail started piling in. For him to continue on and do what so many thought he couldn’t do and for him to withstand it, I can’t imagine,” said Nipper.

Aaron will always been best known for his playing 23 seasons in the major leagues, in both Milwaukee and Atlanta, but in May of 1952, Nipper said that it’s very likely Hank Aaron played in his very first professional game in Nashville at Sulphur Dell (now in the same location as First Horizon Park).

At the time he was with the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns and just 18-years old.

“We baseball folk are always talking about ‘firsts,’ so when we see something like his first game, those kind of things are just exiting to see,” said Nipper.

That wasn’t his only time Aaron stepped up to home plate at Sulphur Dell. He joined the Milwaukee Braves for Spring Training there in March of 1954, and returned in Braves’ exhibition games in 1955, 1956 and 1960.

“That’s the thing it’s a worthy foundation Sulphur Dell is something great to hang your hat on. Henry Aaron, Negro League baseball playing in Nashville,” added Nipper.

The home run king will forever live on in the game of baseball, but it’s here in the South where he’ll be remembered for so much more.

Who doesn’t talk about Henry Aaron, and being able to see him. Who doesn’t love Henry Aaron who will always love Henry Aaron,” said Nipper.

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