The death of Harmon Killebrew at age 74 to esophageal cancer leaves behind the legend of a great man and baseball player, who became the face of the Minnesota Twins, and legacy in the Hall of Fame. He lost his life after fighting for it for only five months, according to the Associated Press.
Here are some key accomplishments for a man who had a 22-year career in Major League Baseball.
* Harmon (nicknamed the Killer or Hammerin Harmon) was a first baseman, third baseman, and left fielder.
* He was born June 29, 1936, in Payette, Idaho.
* At the age of 17, he opted out of a baseball scholarship to the University of Oregon and signed with the Washington Senators, becoming one of the youngest players in the 1950s.
* He made his MLB debut days before his 18th birthday on June 23, 1954. In his 22 years as a player, he joined the Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, and Kansas City Royals.
* In 1961, he became the Minnesota Twins team captain and helped turn the team into a force to be reckoned with. In 1965, the team overtook the New York Yankees to win the American League pennant. Although they lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers , Killebrew still managed to hit one home run off of Don Drysdale.
* In 1969, Killebrew had set new career highs in each league category with home runs (49), RBIs (140), walks (145), and on-base percentage (.427). With these kinds of numbers, Killebrew was awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Player) award. He even set a record of a 520-foot drive on June 3, 1967, which is till the longest in Twins history and has yet to be broken.
* As a player, Killebrew was impressive: He was a 13-time All Star and won the Calvin R. Griffith MVP award five times. In 1984, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame and was one of five players to have his number, 3, be retired by the Minnesota Twins.
* His impressive career ended in 1975, when he decided to retire; his injuries weere catching up with him. Before his retirement, Hillebrew had played 2,435 games.
* During his career, he led the American League in first place with the most home runs in years 1959 (42), 1962 (48), 1963 (45), 1964 (49), 1967 (44), and 1969 (49) ; however, in runs batted, he only became number one three times in a row, with his best year, 1969, accruing 140 runs. He received number one in two more categories in the American League. In 1969, he had an OBP (on base percentage) of .427 and a SLG (slugging percentage) of .555 in 1963.
* He was second to only Babe Ruth in home runs.
* After his retirement, he spent 12 years as a television broadcaster for the Twins, Oakland Athletics, and California Angels. He also served as a major and minor league instructor for the Oakland Athletics as well.
* In 1998, Harmon founded and chaired the Harmon Killebrew Foundation, which helped him raise money for his favorite charities.
* In his personal life, Killebrew had five children with his first wife Elayne; their marriage ended in divorce in 1989. In 1990, he married his second wife Nita, with whom he was survived by nine children, 23 grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Harmon Killibrew was often described as a quiet, kind man who “liked to wash dishes” for fun.
Dave Campbell “Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, 74, dies of cancer.” news.yahoo.com
MLB Statistics from mlb.com
Biography from HarmonKillebrewfoundation.org