This morning, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled two officially licensed, limited-edition bobbleheads featuring Hall of Famer Hank Aaron wearing the uniform of the storied Indianapolis Clowns, who were the last of the Negro League teams to disband in 1962. The two bobbleheads commemorate the three months that Aaron spent with the Clowns during the 1952 season – his first in professional baseball. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum collaborated with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and Dreams Fulfilled to produce a series of officially licensed Negro Leagues bobbleheads.
Wearing a blue No. 5 Clowns’ uniform with red and white trim, the first bobblehead features a smiling Aaron batting cross-handed as he did with the Clowns, while the second bobblehead features a smiling Aaron waiting on deck and holding four bats. Both bobbleheads are on a baseball field base. Along with his name in gold on the front, the bobbleheads include “In Memoriam: Feb. 5, 1934 – Jan. 22, 2021” on the back.
The bobbleheads, which just arrived and ship now, are available for purchase through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. They are individually numbered to 4,136 to correspond to Aaron’s career hit total (41 Negro Leagues, 324 Minor Leagues and 3,771 Major Leagues). The bobbleheads are $30 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order. Hank Aaron Bobbleheads
On November 20th, 1951, 17-year-old Aaron was signed by scout Ed Scott to play shortstop for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of the storied franchises in the Negro American League. Scott, who became the first African American scout in the history of the Boston Red Sox, spotted Aaron playing in a softball game in Mobile, Alabama. “If that boy can hit a softball that far, how far can he hit a baseball?” Ed Scott Jr. quoted his father as saying. In his three-month stint playing for Clowns manager Buster Haywood during the 1952 season, the cross-handed hitting Aaron played shortstop and batted third or cleanup. In 26 games, Aaron batted .366 with five home runs, 33 RBI and nine stolen bases, according to the Howe Sports Bureau.
Aaron, who earned $200 month with the Clowns, received two MLB contract offers via telegram due to his standout play. In the end, he chose the Boston Braves over the New York Giants. “I had the Giants’ contract in my hand, but the Braves offered 50 dollars a month more,” Aaron once said. “That’s the only thing that kept Willie Mays and me from being teammates – 50 dollars.” Once in the minor leagues, the right-handed hitting Aaron changed his cross-handed grip (left hand above his right) – a grip that he credited for developing his legendary quick wrists, allowing him to wait on pitches longer than a mortal baseball player. “I looked for the same pitch my whole career, a breaking ball,” he said. “All of the time. I never worried about the fastball. They couldn’t throw it past me. None of them.”
In his 23-year Major League career in which he played for the Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers from 1954 to 1976, Aaron recorded 755 home runs. He famously broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record with his 715th home run on April 8th, 1974. Aaron is MLB’s all-time leader in RBI (2,297), total bases (6,856) and extra-base hits (1,477). Aaron was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, which was his first year of eligibility.
“Hank Aaron will forever be one of the best players in baseball history, and part of that history includes his time with the Indianapolis Clowns,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “It’s important to remember the history of the Negro Leagues, and this bobblehead will help keep that part of Aaron’s legacy alive.”