Illustration by Abigail LeForge.

This week in sports history

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April 6, 1973 – The Pittsburgh Pirates retired outfielder Roberto Clemente’s number 21 jersey. Just months after collecting his milestone 3,000th hit, Clemente boarded a plane from his native Puerto Rico to deliver relief aid to earthquake-stricken victims in Nicaragua.

Tragically, Clemente passed away when his plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean soon after takeoff. The Baseball Writer’s Association of America voted to waive the five-year waiting period to get into the Hall of Fame for Clemente and posthumously elected him for induction March 20, 1973.

April 8, 1974 – Atlanta Braves outfielder “Hammerin” Hank Aaron hits his 715 home run off the Dodgers’ Al Downing to break Babe Ruth’s longstanding home run record. Aaron would hit 40 more home runs over the course of his baseball career, leaving him with 755.

The record was broken by the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds in 2007, but Aaron is still considered the home run king by many people, due to allegations of Bonds’ use of performance-enhancing drugs.

April 10, 2005 – Tiger Woods wins the 69th annual Masters Tournament in Augusta by shooting a total of 276. Woods has not won a masters title since then, but looks to win another green jacket this weekend at Augusta as he attempts his comeback from multiple back surgeries.

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