Keisha Lance Bottoms: Hank Aaron Statue to stay in Atlanta

By Maria Saporta

The iconic Hank Aaron Statue of the homerun legend’s hitting No. 715 to break Babe Ruth’s record will stay in the City of Atlanta, according to Keisha Lance Bottoms, executive director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Hank Aaron statue

Hank Aaron statue (Photos by Maria Saporta)

The statue will remain at Turner Field, and it will not be moved to Cobb County to become part of the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium.

“I am pleased to have worked with our team and the Braves to finalize this issue,” Bottoms said in a statement released Wednesday. “While there are other matters that must be resolved before the Braves exit Turner Field, keeping the Hank Aaron statue at home is a major accomplishment. We can now move forward with the transition of the stadium knowing that a part of Mr. Aaron’s incredible legacy will continue to be appropriately honored within the city.”

The Atlanta Braves had argued for a time that they owned the Hank Aaron Statue and that they planned to move it to the new baseball park.

Billye and Hank Aaron

A photo of Billye and Hank Aaron

A SaportaReport Maria’s Metro column a year ago had suggested that the best outcome would be a two-statue solution – for the Braves to commission another statue of Hank Aaron to be placed with the Cobb County stadium.

“The statue of Hank Aaron rightfully belongs to the citizens of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County,” Bottoms said. “And we have worked hard to ensure that this historic sports landmark and tribute to the great Hank Aaron will remain.”

Since the Braves’ announcement in 2013 that they would depart Turner Field for a new facility in Cobb County, controversy has swirled around whether the statue was the property of the Atlanta Braves or the Recreation Authority.

The authority conducted an internal review and uncovered Olympics-era documents clearly spelling out that the statue belonged to the citizens of Atlanta and Fulton County.

An email was sent to the Atlanta Braves for a comment. When they respond, the story will be updated or a new story will be posted.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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