Aaron, Robinson elected to Hall of Fame

Written by: Craig Muder

Four decades after their retirements, they remain at or near the top of most of baseball’s all-time lists.

But for Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson, immortality officially arrived in 1982.

Aaron and Robinson were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Jan. 13, 1982 – in the first appearance on the ballot for each man. Aaron received 97.8 percent of the vote – falling just nine votes short of perfection – while Robinson garnered 89.2 percent of the vote.

The 1982 ballot was so deep that the next four candidates in order of votes received – Juan Marichal, Harmon Killebrew, Hoyt Wilhelm and Don Drysdale – would all be subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in the coming years.

Hank Aaron crosses home plate for the Atlanta Braves against the Chicago White Sox during the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 12, 1974 at Doubleday Field. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

"The first time I saw him in spring training, he had ‘Major League’ written all over him – one of those guys who comes around maybe once every hundred years,” said former teammate Andy Pafko of Aaron, who would eventually amass 755 career home runs.

Robinson, meanwhile, instilled just as much respect in his teammates as Aaron did.

“(Leadership) is a matter of how much of yourself you are willing to give to another man and how much of you he is willing to accept,” said Robinson’s Orioles teammate and future Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. “Frank gave everything of himself and we accepted everything he gave us.”

Aaron and Robinson were inducted into the Hall of Fame with Veterans Committee electees Happy Chandler and Travis Jackson on Aug. 1, 1982.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum