As admirers around the human being mourn the death of baseball legend Hank "Hammerin" Hank" Aaron at age 86 today, plenty of sports pan may uncover themselves wondering what happened to the ball that catapulted Aaron into the background books ~ above July 20, 1976. Yet let"s earlier things up just a bit.

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Aaron joined major League Baseball team the Milwaukee Braves in 1954. Follow to Biography, the was two decades later, after ~ the Braves had actually relocated come Atlanta in 1966 (per the MLB website) that he hit his 715th home run, wrecking Babe Ruth"s record of 714, to the happiness of countless long-suffering Boston Red Sox fans, together Baseball reference tells it. After Aaron"s 20th season with the Braves to be over, he moved ago to Milwaukee come play for the Brewers.

As ESPN reported, two years later, in 1976, in ~ Milwaukee"s ar Stadium, Aaron damaged yet one more home operation record, hitting his 755th and final career home run, against relief pitcher prick Drago that the then-California Angels, in the bottom that the saturday inning, clinching the Brewers" 6-2 win. It to be a record that would certainly stand because that 31 years, till Barry bond of the mountain Francisco Giants fight his 756th residence run in 2007. (ESPN shares this funny fact: Bonds"s father, Bobby, batted third for the Angels the day the Aaron fight his record.)


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According come the Los Angeles Times, Milwaukee Brewers groundskeeper and also baseball pan Richard Arndt was the lucky grabber of Aaron"s historical hit (though he had actually no idea that was historical at the time). Arndt claims that the intended to hand the ball earlier to Aaron ~ the game when he was summoned to the dugouts. But when that asked to check out Aaron, he to be told through an tools manager that Aaron to be busy and couldn"t satisfy with him. The devices manager allegedly readily available Arndt a previously-autographed ball, bat, and also a photo of Aaron, but Arndt declined, and kept his ball. The next day, the Brewers" monitoring fired him and also docked his last paycheck. "I"m certain everybody would have actually handled this much more diplomatically had actually it to be Sept. 30 instead of July 20," Arndt said, "but everybody assumed he would hit more home runs. Nobody believed that would certainly be his last house run."


After numerous tries to gain Aaron to authorize his ball and Aaron refusing, the Los Angeles Times reported that Arndt wound up maintaining the round in a safe deposit box in Albuquerque, new Mexico, whereby he lived many of his adult life, because that the better part of the following 22 years. Someday in 1994, Arndt lugged the sphere to a present where Aaron was signing autographs; Aaron signed the ball, not realizing its significance, and also then earlier to the box the sphere went. This unfortunately yet understandably caused poor blood top top Aaron"s side, as he felt he had actually been duped.

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Over time, Arndt, who came to be a social worker, would revolve down several supplies for the autographed ball, until 1999, when he brought it come an auction where, follow to ESPN, he offered it because that $652,000 come 68-year-old Weston, Connecticut resident and also wealth asset manager Andrew Knuth. Arndt obtained $461,700 indigenous the sale, and also fulfilled a promise come Aaron, donating $155,800 to the Chasing the Dream structure in Atlanta, which helps underprivileged children. When the taxation bills were paid, he offered the money to help his children and also his church, and also made some investments. "We to be able to carry out some an excellent things v it," the told the LA Times.


When Knuth returned home from that auction — again, via ESPN – he acquired a contact from Aaron. "We talked around the ball and what had gone on," Knuth said. "He was very interested in the ball." Knuth ended up gaining invited to Aaron"s 65th birthday party, wherein he says he met previous President Clinton. "I don"t travel too regularly in those circles," that said. Knuth included that the keeps the ball "in a really safe place."

"It"s clearly a distinct piece of background I own," Knuth said. "I think it will certainly be in my household for a long period of time."