The LBJ Presidential Library hosted its annual Tom Johnson Lecture Series on Thursday, recognizing baseball Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron.
Johnson served as executive assistant to President Lyndon Johnson during his presidency and later served as chairman emeritus of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation.
Each year, Johnson recommends a person who best represents the values of President Johnson to lecture in the series.
Aaron, this year’s honoree, is best known for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. During his 23-year career, Aaron won three Gold Glove Awards and the 1957 World Series with the Milwaukee Braves.
Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron, founded the Chasing the Dream Foundation in 1999. According to Johnson, this foundation helps minority children achieve their goals.
“Both have been very active in civil rights, education, and active in the support of policies on the right side of history,” Johnson said. “They have supported many great black mayors and the legacy of President Johnson.”
Aaron said his father influenced his career path.
“I remember getting into baseball because my father had his own baseball team,” Aaron said.
Throughout his career, Aaron said he always remembered his conversations with fellow baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Aaron said Robinson taught him baseball was about “touching home plate.”
“For many years, I led the league in runs scored and runs batted in — or runs scored simply — because I focused about what Jackie always said,” Aaron said.
Augie Garrido, Texas baseball head coach, said Aaron’s legacy is in keeping with the University’s philosophies.
“Walter Cronkite once said, ‘What starts here changes the world,’” Garrido said. “In addition to that statement, our goal is to educate one student at a time for better society. [Aaron] is a man of integrity that has moved mountains for this country. He has changed the world for the better.”