Atlanta artist sculpts Hammerin’ Hank’s record-breaking moment - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Atlanta artist sculpts Hammerin’ Hank’s record-breaking moment

In this April 8, 1974 file photo, Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron eyes the flight of the ball after hitting his 715th career homer in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta. The 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th home run finds the Hall of Famer In this April 8, 1974 file photo, Atlanta Braves' Hank Aaron eyes the flight of the ball after hitting his 715th career homer in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Atlanta. The 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th home run finds the Hall of Famer
ATLANTA (CBS46) -

In April 1974, "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron slammed a baseball so hard it went sailing over the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

It was that remarkable moment artist Ross Rossin set out to immortalize in a bronze sculpture of Aaron that sits at the new SunTrust Park.

“That pivotal moment, a fraction of a second in history makes a huge difference,” Rossin told CBS46 from his Atlanta studio.

Aaron played 21 seasons with the Braves.       

“What I promised to them was likeness, a good, physical, facial likeness. And an understanding of his incredible character and energy that comes with it,” he said.

Rossin’s painted Aaron twice before - one of those paintings hangs in the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

“I'm pretty familiar with his face, his character, the story of his life, the unbelievable achievement,” Rossin said.

Aaron endured racism and death threats on his way to breaking Babe Ruth's home run record – one that seemed untouchable for nearly 40 years – until Aaron hit number 715.

“For me, he is a hero of biblical proportions,” said Rossin. “To this day, I'm amazed with him, that really strong sense of integrity in everything he says and everything he does.”

The walls of Rossin's studio covered with portraits of famous humanitarians and celebrities he considers friends -- from Archbishop Desmond tutu, Ambassador Andrew Young to actor Morgan Freeman.

“In my work, I study human nature and great characters. The right characters always inspire me,” he said.

His portrait of late poet Maya Angelou was chosen for the 2015 commemorative U.S. stamp.

Rossin says it took a year to bring the Aaron statue to life.

He hopes Aaron's image of triumph resonates with visitors.

“I hope they get inspired, but more than that,” said Rossin. “Hard working men and women out there should be able to see themselves, recognize themselves, they're own sense of strong principals, character, integrity of somebody who simply does his job well.”

This is the second statue to pay tribute to Aaron. The first sits at turner field. 

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