MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Henry “Hank” Aaron is a familiar name around the Toulminville community. His best friend, Tom Withers, still lives there today.
“I remember when him and his momma and daddy went up there when he broke the record,” said Withers, as he reflected on the memories he and Aaron shared together through the years.
Tom and Hank became friends at 17 years old. Since then they’ve shared a close bond that’s lasted a lifetime. The two of them are just two weeks apart in age.
“I watched his back and he watched my back. We had friends together. He liked to fish,” he said.
Aaron made plenty of friends along the way, including Alabama State Senator Vivian Figures. While on the Mobile City Council Figures fought to make sure his name was remembered in the Port City for years to come.Hank Aaron Stadium still bears his name.
“We definitely made it so in the contract that the stadium’s name would always be Hank Aaron,” said Figures.
But, times weren’t always pleasant.
“I stayed with him for about 10 days. We would go back and forth to the store or wherever he wanted to go. I was with him,” Withers remembered.
Death threats and hate mail poured in while Aaron continued chasing his dreams. Figures knows he’ll be deeply missed.
“You know, we all have to go one day, but it’s always a shocker when we lose the people we love, that we admire and that we respect,” she added.