The Hank Aaron Tribute Game is set for April 4th, 2023, between Alcorn State University vs. Mississippi Valley State University. The lineup for the Hank Aaron tribute game has added Gulf Coast Atlantic Conference (GCAC) members Rust College and Tougaloo College to the event lineup, leading up to the tribute game between the Atlanta Braves’ Double-A franchise, the Mississippi Braves of the Southern League, versus Jackson State on April 5, 2023.
The games will be played at Smith-Willis Stadium in Jackson, Mississippi, former home of the Texas League’s Jackson Mets and Jackson Generals.
The event has landmark value with all participants from Historically Black College and University (HBCU) baseball programs from the State of Mississippi.
Having the HBCUs compete in the Hank Aaron Tribute Game will provide a great exhibition for the players, their programs, and the institutions, but it is also an opportunity to help raise funds for the upgrades of local baseball parks and facilities owned by the City of Jackson.
Smith-Willis Stadium became the home of the Hank Aaron Sports Academy in 2021 to assist the under-resourced community for youth in the Jackson-Metro area. The stadium has served as a home field for seven Jackson Public School baseball teams along with summer and fall youth baseball, camps, clinics, and programs intended to attract minority and children to play the game of baseball.
The Hank Aaron Tribute Game between the Atlanta Braves MiLB, Mississippi Braves, and the Jackson State Tigers on April 5, 2023, brings attention to the seven high schools in Jackson and the disadvantage of not having a home baseball or softball field which to play on. The revenue generated from the gate receipts from the Hank Aaron Tribute game will go to the benefit of the “Revitalization Assistance Program” called “RAP” which will make improvements to community youth baseball, softball fields and public parks where the high school teams and area youth leagues now play.
Hank Aaron, also known as “Hammerin Hank”, was a Major League Baseball player who played 23 seasons, from 1954 through 1976. One of the greatest baseball players in history, he spent twenty-one seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League.
Aaron held most of the game’s career power-hitting records. He broke the MLB record for home runs held by Babe Ruth and remained the career leader for 33 years. He hit 24 or more home runs every year from 1955 through 1973 and is one of only two players to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
Aaron holds the MLB records for the most career runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). Aaron is also third all-time for career hits (3,771) and fifth in runs scored (2,174). He is one of only four players to have at least 17 seasons with 150 or more hits. Aaron was a National League All-Star for 20 seasons and an American League All-Star for one season. He holds the record for the most All-Star selections (25), and holds the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Willie Mays and Stan Musial. He was a three-time Gold Glove winner, and in 1957, won the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award when the Milwaukee Braves won the World Series.
In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on its list of the “100 Greatest Baseball Players”. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Hank Aaron Sports Academy is the home of the 2023 GCAC Baseball Championship and the Hank Aaron Tribute Game.