City Council approves adding Hank Aaron’s name to Durkeeville ballpark

Hank Aaron played for the Jacksonville Braves, breaking the color barrier in the South Atlantic League. City council members plan to rename the field at J.P. Small Park after Hank Aaron.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening in favor of adding baseball legend Hank Aaron’s name to a local ballpark

Aaron had ties to Northeast Florida, playing one season for the Jacksonville Braves at J.P Small Park. The new name of the park is Henry L. Aaron Field at J.P Small Memorial Stadium.

The plan for the discussion to fall on Tuesday was no coincidence. It’s the same day that 67 years ago Aaron made his major league debut in baseball.

Known as “Hammerin’ Hank” and for breaking the color barrier in the South Atlantic League, Aaron would go on to play 23 seasons in the pros.

“He played here in 1953 for the Jacksonville Braves. If you read about Henry Aaron, his time here was very difficult for him. He wasn’t able to stay with his team and they ate in different restaurants,” Jacksonville City Councilman Ron Salem said.

Earlier this year, Salem spoke with News4Jax about his push to name the field at J.P Small Park in Aaron’s honor after he died at 86 years old in January 2021.

The park itself has gone by several different names in the past including the Myrtle Avenue Ballpark and Barrs field.

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