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Rochester fan cherishes the times he met Hank Aaron

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Rochester man remembers Hank Aaron

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Friday, a baseball legend was remembered. Henry "Hank" Aaron passed away at the age of 86.

Hank Aaron is known for being a lethal batter in the box, smashing 755 home runs and breaking barriers in the game. His biggest on-field accomplishment, probably breaking Babe Ruth's home run record.

Aaron had fans around the world including in Rochester. Bruce Batterson was one of those fans.

"I saw a headline, and I immediately thought 'oh no' and I had tears in my eyes," he said.

Barry Bonds surpassed Aaron's record in 2007, though many still consider Hank Aaron as the home run king, Batterson included.

"To me, and I know a lot of people, he is still the home run king because he did everything the right way," Batterson said.

Bonds has admitted to using steroids.

Batterson says he has fond memories of Aaron. He actually met Aaron three times, the first in Florida when he was about 10, and he got a picture with the slugger.

This same picture, he brought with him the other two times he met Hank Aaron. One time, again in Florida. He went to an event he heard Hank Aaron was going to be at.

"When I was about to head out, I thought maybe I will sit in the lobby, and I can see him walk out because he had to go out that way. A Jacksonville news reporter sat next to me, and he wanted to see it [the picture], so I showed him. He says 'oh, you gotta come into this interview with me,'" Batterson said.

He went with the reporter and got to sit in on a 20 minute interview with Aaron. He was able to show Aaron the picture again.

"He said 'you need to keep this really nice like this,' I said 'Oh I will trust me, I will guard it with my life,'" Batterson said.

From signed baseballs to cards, and of course his coveted picture, Batterson's collection of Aaron memorabilia has grown. It's something he says he will always cherish.

"I'll never sell any of this stuff. It's stuff I will never part with," he said.

Just like baseball history will never part with the man who made it to 25 All-Star games, ended his career batting .305, still holds the all-time records in RBI, total bases and extra-base hits, and he did all of it while defying racism.

The Atlanta Braves, Aaron's longtime team, said he died in his sleep. No cause of death was given.

Kamie Roesler

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