He would belt 455 more before his long career finally came to a close but Hank Aaron’s 300th career home run was special enough that the team commemorated it with a plaque. Some 57 years after it happened, that commemorative award wound up at a Milwaukee area estate sale where it was recently purchased for $55.
It was an undistinguished position for something related to the man who broke Babe Ruth’s record, but now that 13×20” wooden piece of history is getting new life through Heritage Auctions.
How it came to be considered little more than forgotten bric-a-brac isn’t known but the buyer who found it consigned to Heritage where it’s part of the company’s current Winter Platinum Night Auction.
The plaque dates to a spring day in Milwaukee when the Braves organization honored both Aaron and Eddie Mathews, it’s two perennial slugging stars prior to a game. Mathews had belted his 400th career homer on April 16. Three days later, Aaron walloped #300 during a game against the Mets at the Polo Grounds.
“Presented to Hank Aaron In Recognition Of Being The 12th Player In The National League History To Hit 300 Home Runs April 19, 1963 The Milwaukee Braves” is engraved to a gold placard. Baseball bats line the sides while a slightly oxidized eagle sits at the top. The raised metal outline around the player image on the front is missing and there are signs of wear throughout the piece, but it’s one of only a small number of personal awards given to Aaron that have ever reached the auction block. Aaron donated much of his career memorabilia to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the 300th homer trophy had apparently never left Milwaukee following the Braves’ move to Atlanta in 1966. “Custom Made Trophy Athletic Sply Co. Milwaukee Wisconsin” is engraved into the back.
The plaque wasn’t exactly common knowledge but Heritage Consignment Director Tony Giese told the man who bought it to check Braves publications from later that season or in 1964 to see if he could find a photo of Aaron and the plaque.
The consignor spotted a photo of Aaron and Mathews with their plaques inside the 1964 Braves Yearbook. Interestingly, the photo was placed on the lower half of the page, just below ads for original Hartland statues ($2.30 each) and bobbleheads ($1.25) sold by County Stadium’s concessionaire.
The plaque is expected to sell for $8,000 or more but as of Thursday, bidding was only at $2,200, still a profitable pickup– and a great story surrounding a little slice of baseball history.