CLEVELAND — Hank Aaron, who formerly held the Major League Baseball record for career home runs, passed away on Friday at the age of 86.
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But while many will remember Aaron most for his 755 career home runs, he left a different type of legacy for at least some fans in Cleveland.
Although the 25-time All-Star spent all but the final two seasons of his Major League career in the National League, Aaron was no stranger to Northeast Ohio. In an interview recorded for ESPN's "Believeland" documentary, the Mobile, Alabama, native can be seen discussing his affection for the Cleveland Browns.
"It started many many years ago. This probably going way back when they had Otto Graham, Marion Motley, Dante Lavelli -- you could go on and on and on," Aaron says in the clip. "It was me looking at a team and figuring out, 'what makes these guys so successful?' They won so many championships back then. I guess like anything else, no matter if you're playing baseball, football, basketball or whatever you might be playing, in order for you to repeat over and over and over again, you've gotta be doing good. And they had some very very good football players back then."
The 1957 National League MVP went on to reveal that he spent time watching the Browns play from the "Dawg Pound" inside of Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
"I had fun out there with the Dawg Pound. I enjoyed myself out there with them," he said. "And they always had fun. Nobody ever bothered me. I went there many years. I don't know if I saw as many as one or two fights. Everybody would have a good time."
How did one of baseball's most famous players spend so many years unnoticed in Northeast Ohio?
"It was very, very cold," he said. "What did put on was a jacket, a hat that would cover all over my face and I could only see out of my eyes.
"Somebody finally figured out who I was. What happened was that when I left the Dawg Pound, I went to have dinner at one of the restaurants and I took the dog mask and some guy walked behind and pointed right at me and said, 'I thought that was you! I've been watching you all these many years and I finally found out it was you.'"
You can watch the full clip of Aaron discussing his Browns fandom in the video player below.