July 20, 1976: Hank Aaron hits his 755th and final career home run in a 6-2 win for the Milwaukee Brewers against the California Angels.
Aaron had topped Babe Ruth for most career home runs in 1974, so each subsequent homer was merely giving himself extra cushion at the top of the leaderboard.
He entered the 1976 season with MLB records of 745 home runs, 2,262 runs batted in and 21 seasons as an All-Star.
Being 42 at the start of the 1976 season, Aaron entered this July 20 contest against the Angels with only nine home runs and a .246 batting average.
In the bottom of the seventh inning with a 3-1 lead over the Angels, Aaron took relief pitcher Dick Drago deep to left field for his 755th home run, giving his team a 4-1 lead and stretching his margin over Ruth even further.
Since there were roughly two months left in the regular season, few expected this blast to be the last of Aaron's career, but knee injuries limited Aaron to 85 games during the season and hampered his effectiveness when he was active. Subsequently, Aaron retired at the conclusion of the regular season with 755 home runs, a record that remained intact for more than 31 years.
While this was unknown at the time, the ball Aaron struck would proceed to have great value due to its status as Hammerin' Hank's last professional home run. According to the Los Angeles Times, groundskeeper Richard Arndt sold the ball for $650,000 in 1999.
In 2007, the Giants' Barry Bonds caught Aaron, striking his 756th home run on August 7 before eventually retiring with an all-time best 762. Coincidentally, Bonds' father, Bobby, was a member of the 1976 Angels team which Aaron's final home run came against.
Because of Bonds' involvement with the BALCO group responsible for PEDs, many fans continue to call Aaron the true "Home Run King." Initially, Aaron refused to acknowledge that argument in this congratulatory speech that played in San Francisco's AT&T Park during the game:
But in 2009, Aaron said players linked to PEDs should have asterisks next to their career numbers.
While Aaron's home run record was surpassed by Bonds, his RBI (now 2,297) and All-Star game records still stand as the best ever, as does his mark of 6,856 total bases, according to Baseball-Reference.
In 1999, the MLB created the "Hank Aaron Award," which has since been annually given to the top offensive player in each league. In addition, Aaron was given the "Presidential Medal of Freedom" in 2002 by George W. Bush.
Aaron, now 81, was inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in 1982, receiving the second highest percentage of possible votes (97.8 percent) of all time behind only Ty Cobb's 98.4 percent. Aaron now works in the front office for the Braves, with whom he spent 21 of his 23 years in the majors.