COMMENTARY | One of the greatest things about writing for Associated Content from Yahoo! is the pleasurable experience I receive from writing articles on news, restaurant reviews, and sports. Unfortunately, not all news is happy news; this is certainly the case with the loss of one of my favorite professional baseball players of all time — “Hammerin'” Harmon Killebrew. Killebrew died Tuesday from esophageal cancer. “Hammerin’ Harmon” was only 74.
Known for his strong and powerful swing, Killebrew played over 20 seasons in the MLB, mostly for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins (1954-1974). Killebrew was a tremendous baseball player who played great offense and showed strong humanity on and off the field. Throughout his 21-year MLB career, Killebrew consistently posted great offensive numbers and his career statistics were a .256 batting average, 573 home runs, and 1,584 runs batted in. Compared to his home runs total, his batting average is certainly not baseball hall of fame quality; this might have been one of the reasons why Killebrew was not accepted into the hall until his fourth year of eligibility.
Although I personally never had the opportunity to watch Killebrew play baseball, I have watched him several times on ESPN Classic, and he has been on the great television show Home Run Derby. When I used to watch Home Run Derby with my dad, I was able to witness the hitting expertise and prowess that Killebrew is known for as he overmatched even the better sluggers of his generation. I wish I had the opportunity to meet Killebew or even watch him play baseball in real life, but I now know that I will never have that opportunity.
As a symbol of Minnesota Twins graciousness and greatness, Killebrew was certainly a catalyst for the Twins throughout the ’50s, ’60’s, and ’70s. Although Killebrew never won a World Series, he was elected to 13 All-Star games, was the 1969 AL MVP, and earned the 1971 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for his strong moral veracity as a player and individual.
To commemorate Killebrew’s baseball career and life, the Twins will host a memorial event for the fallen hero May 26 at Target Field. The public and Twins fans are invited to attend. In my personal opinion, the baseball career and life of Killebrew is a great symbol for the Twins, as “Hammerin’ Harmon” was known for his baseball enthusiasm, expertise and humanitarian efforts off the field.
As for my personal feelings, I am deeply saddened for Killebrew, his family, and Twins and baseball fans. Killebrew was an exceptional baseball player and was an equally delightful person off the field. R.I.P. Harmon Killebrew.
Dave Campbell, “Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, 74, dies of cancer”, Yahoo! Sports.