JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The inaugural Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and Hank Aaron Sports Academy Baseball Tournament was announced Tuesday.
Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney was scheduled to make the announcement at 5:30 p.m. in the atrium of City Hall, according to a news release from his office.
Prior to his death last year, Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron had the vision to bring the game of baseball to every community, and the baseball tournament aims to honor that vision.
The Hank Aaron Sports Academy also honors the iconic sporting figure nationwide by creating opportunities to access services in the area of sports, business, social development and education.
“Hank Aaron is a pillar and household name in our community, and although we recently lost him, he remains to be a man who broke barriers we all are benefiting from till this day,” Gaffney said in the news release ahead of the announcement. “For many, as a child, we saw ourselves in Hank Aaron, and today, I believe the City of Jacksonville makes history again.”
Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record and gracefully left his mark as one of baseball’s greatest all-around players, died on Jan. 22, 2021. He was 86.
Aaron once played for the Class A Jacksonville Braves, breaking the South Atlantic League color barrier, according to the Jumbo Shrimp. In his lone season with Jacksonville, Aaron hit 22 home runs, 36 doubles and14 triples and had a .362 average to earn MVP honors.
Aaron and the Braves played their games at Durkee Field in Jacksonville. That park, on the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Eighth Street, is now known as J.P. Small Memorial Park.