Blog Entry

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

Posted on: May 13, 2011 7:42 pm
NEW YORK -- Harmon Killebrew kept the statement simple.

He kept it as positive as he could, given the circumstances. How positive can you be when you tell the world that the battle with cancer is nearing an end, and that cancer is winning the fight?

But the statement Killebrew released Friday emphasized the "benefits" of hospice care, and of how Killebrew was "very comfortable taking this next step."

We shouldn't be surprised. This is how Harmon Killebrew lived his life, how he played, and now how that life is coming to an end.

"Classy guy," longtime teammate Jim Kaat said Friday at Yankee Stadium.

Kaat and Killebrew were together from the time Kaat joined the Washington Senators in 1958, through the team's move to Minnesota, and all the way until Kaat went to the White Sox midway through the 1973 season.

They remained close enough that Kaat will emcee a dinner for Killebrew's foundation, to be held on June 29, Killebrew's 75th birthday.

"He was hoping to come," Kaat said. "I talked to him just the other day, and he said, 'It's going to be tough to get to Minnesota.' I could tell he had slowed down."

The Killebrew that Kaat remembers is one who was always a total professional, a man who was one of the top home run hitters ever but preferred not to draw too much attention to himself.

"He kind of set the tone for the Twins, of being a little vanilla, gentlemanly," Kaat said. "If somebody threw a helmet, you could almost feel Harmon glaring at them."

There are no doubt those who would like to throw a helmet now, upset with the news that Killebrew is in the final days of life.

Don't do it. Don't throw it. Harmon may still be glaring at you.

Category: MLB

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:46 pm

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

Believe me bgleagueschu when he would come to the plate vs. the tigers I always dreaded it because it usually was a home run. I really didn't like the twins because of the one/two punch of Carew/Killebrew. I admired both of them because they could hit. I will miss him just as I did when he and Kaline retired. Nothing but class acts back in the day.

Since: Apr 21, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:33 pm

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

If I remember correctly he is one of just 4 hitters (in 90 years) to clear the left field roof at the old Tiger Stadium (Frank Howard, Cecil Fielder, and Mark McGwire were the others).  One of those guys I wish I was old enough to have seen.

573 home runs, in a pitcher-dominated era, with no steroids, and you hardly hear about  him.  Imagine if he had played in a Yankee uniform...

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:21 pm

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

accfantoo...he's still with us

Since: Mar 20, 2007
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:15 pm

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

Killebrew and I were about the same age when he came to the Washington Senators. I still remember the outfield seats that were painted blue where each one of his mammoth home runs landed. He was a true gentleman of the game and of life. I will miss him. RIP Harmon.

Since: Jan 1, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 8:05 pm

Killebrew: A 'classy guy' right to the end

     Isaw Harmon Killebrew when I was about six and he was a youngster playing in the old Southern Association.  For some reason his minor league career (short) brought him through old Russwood Park in Memphis (A BEAUTIFUL ballpark).  I was privileged to witness a behemouth moonshot home run by the great Mr. Killebrew.  It was an early experience, but an indeliable memory.  I'll never forget it.  I'll never forget the career and example set by Harmon Killebrew.  These goofball steroidians of today couldn't carry Harmon Killebrew's jockstrap.  God bless Mr. Harmon Killebrew...gno in Little Rock

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