As is the custom for all major league ball clubs who lose an iconic figure, Harmon Killebrew’s jersey will be hanging in the Minnesota Twins dugout from today onward, for the rest of the season. Killer, as he was known during his career, succumbed today to another killer, esophogeal cancer. It is a fitting tribute to the man who was the first to have his number retired by the Twins, #3. Worthy of a man who was a right-handed Babe Ruth to alot of Boomers growing up in the ’50s, particularly those of us who batted right-handed. What a powerful swing, from a powerful man, exhibiting flawless mechanics.
Killer was a superstar, to be sure, but perhaps because he played on a non-descript team in D.C. and then in a quiet midwest media market in the days well before inter-league play, he was known more to boys hooked on baseball cards than to the general public outside the Twin Cities. So while Terry Cashman’s Talkin’ Baseball celebrated Willie, Mickey and the Duke, my baseball card gave Killebrew his rightful place, as did a recent Twins’ commercial excerpting the tune. Heartwarming to read that as feared as Killer was in the batter’s box, he was a true gentleman off the field.