MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — A makeshift memorial continues to grow outside the Hank Aaron Museum. Locals continue to make their way to Hammerin’ Hank’s former childhood home to pay their respects to the Mobile native and Homerun King.
“To me it’s like a shrine — you can come in and feel the emotion, the energy. It was like oh my goodness… And I’ve seen things I didn’t know about him and it’s really opened my eyes,” remarked Leslie Knott.
Knott is a first-time visitor. His wife Linda knew it was something he had to see.
“I was like all for it because I wanted him to experience what I had experienced when they first put it out here,” said Linda.
The special collection of memorabilia takes a look back at Hank Aaron’s historic homerun record and baseball career — many of the items donated by Aaron himself.
“I opened the door to the museum in the past and you could feel the presence of the family and all, but yesterday I really could feel the presence of Hank himself,” said John Hilliard, Mobile Sports & Entertainment Group VP.
Hilliard runs the museum and over the years has met Aaron several times. Hilliard says he was a real humanitarian — always taking the time to talk to people.
“We had an All-star game one time and we wanted all of the players to have autographs… So, he sat down in one of our conference rooms and he signed like 100 baseballs,” recalled Hilliard. “He was humble. He had grace. He was generous. I mean he did more off the field than he actually did on the field.”
And he continues to inspire a younger generation.
“It’s really cool — I wish saw this before… Like the bats, and the jerseys, and all of the pictures and autographs of him,” said Jackson Perdue, 8-years-old.
Perdue wrote a report about his hero and even wears the celebrated #44 when he plays ball.
“I just like Hank… I really like him,” said Perdue.
A likable guy — that also faced a lot of adversity despite his popularity.
“The thing he will be remembered for the most is his attitude… His gentleness with everyone. He never showed emotion and he always treated everyone as he wanted to be treated… And that’s the way we should be today,” said Knott.
The museum was opened in 2010 — right next to Hank Aaron Stadium. They continue to look to promote and attract more visitors.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.