Commentary: Atlanta wins dispute over Hank Aaron statue

Original Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

The contested statue of Hank Aaron will stay in Atlanta, rather than moving to the new Suntrust Park stadium in Cobb County. (credit: Maria Saporta)

The contested statue of Hank Aaron will stay in Atlanta, rather than moving to the new Suntrust Park stadium in Cobb County. (credit: Maria Saporta)

When the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority announced a deal to sell the 67-acre Turner Field property, it chose to make the announcement next to the statue of Hank Aaron hitting his 715th home run.

Although the Atlanta Braves will be moving to Cobb County after this season, the Hank Aaron statue will remain in the city.

The city of Atlanta may have lost the Braves to Cobb County, but it won the tug-of-war to keep the iconic Hank Aaron statue within the city.

It was Aaron who knocked down walls of racial prejudice when his bat hit the 715th ball out of the park at the now-demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Throughout his life, Aaron has taught us all how to face adversity with grace and diplomacy – without compromising his principles.

When the question of who owned the Hank Aaron statue arose, the Homerun King tried to stay out of the fray. He is loyal to the Braves, and he is loyal to Atlanta.

Eventually, the right outcome was reached. The Atlanta Braves commissioned noted artist Ross Rossin to build a second statue of Hank Aaron – one that will be prominently displayed at the new SunTrust Park in Cobb.

The legacy of Hank Aaron is so important to both the Braves and Atlanta that he should be properly honored in both places.

Now the Recreation Authority must select the permanent home for the historic statue.

One option would be to incorporate the statue as part of the Turner Field redevelopment.

Another option would be to move it near the Center for Civil and Human Rights, giving people an opportunity to learn about Aaron’s special role in Atlanta’s history.

No matter where they choose, we have won because we can honor Hank Aaron’s Atlanta legacy.

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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