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Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart honors the late Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron.
Like many Georgia football fans, Kirby Smart is a card-carrying member of Braves Country. Smart grew up in Bainbridge and like any self-respecting Georgian, idolized Atlanta Braves icon Hank Aaron. “Hammerin’ Hank” passed away at the age of 86 on Friday morning.
Smart shared a photograph of he and Aaron at a football camp. The Georgia head coach tweeted out this message as a part of his touching tribute to the greatest player in Braves franchise history. “I loved getting to spend some time with Hank Aaron a few years ago. He was a legend in every way! RIP.” Across the entire Southeast, and America for that matter, Aaron was an icon.
Could this be a special year for the Braves and the Dawgs?
It has been nothing but heartache for Braves Country since Christmas. In a matter of weeks, three Hall of Famers of their family passed away: 300-game winner and knuckleballer Phil Niekro, 300-game winner turned broadcaster Don Sutton and now one of the three or four greatest players in the history of baseball in Aaron. They were the very fabric of what Braves baseball stands for.
Atlanta came up one win short of reaching the World Series for the first time since 1999. It is a shame that Aaron, Niekro and Sutton did not get to see this exciting corps win a pennant before their passings. With the Braves poised to make another deep October run, these three Hall of Famers will have front-row seats to watch what looks to be an incredible season from upstairs.
As for Georgia, Smart’s team is coming off its fourth straight New Year’s Six bowl. Georgia will be among half-a-dozen or so teams with realistic national championship aspirations. Dawg Nation has been chasing 1980 for over 40 years. Smart and his team have recruited well enough to win the College Football Playoff. Maybe the tears will finally be of happiness in The Peach State?
All of Georgia, the Southeast and the United States mourns the passing of the Home Run King.