A few tears (farewell, Harmon Killebrew) and a few laughs (hello again, Bronx Zoo), it's good for the soul. ...
FROM: Ed K.
Re: Killebrew was no 'Killer', except when it came to slugging
Your tribute to Harmon is terrific. My 10-year-son is starting to learn baseball history, and I will share your story with him. I once met Killebrew in Vegas. He was selling autographs, with ALL proceeds going to a children-based charity.
Cool thing is, you could read his autograph. One of my favorite things is how the Twins' Michael Cuddyer and the Angels' Torii Hunter tell stories that, when they were young, they both scribbled autographs until corrected by Mr. Killebrew. "If you're going to take the time to write your name, write it so people know who you are," Killebrew schooled them. Pure class.
"Listed at 6-feet, 190 pounds, until cancer slipped a final fastball by him Tuesday." Really? A man loses his life to cancer and you're making baseball metaphors? I typically enjoy your columns but this line is unprofessional, disrespectful and a literary stretch I'd more likely expect to find in a high school publication.
For a man who devoted his life to baseball ... you really think it's a stretch to use a baseball metaphor in tribute to him? What should be used, good metaphors?
FROM: Chris H.
I am a 48-year-old Twins fanatic, and Harmon was and always will be my hero. You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of my hero. Thank you so much for this article. Simply put, you did Harmon justice and being who Harmon was, that is quite a feat!
Thanks, Chris. I think it's our job to educate some of the younger fans who maybe don't know much about Killebrew as to just what a humble and class act he was.
FROM: Mike F.
This story may be apocryphal, but I once heard that the scout Bluege sent to look at Harmon Killebrew as a 17-year-old reported back to Clark Griffith as follows: "He has absolutely no weaknesses as a hitter. In my opinion, he is the best first base prospect since Lou Gehrig."
I just learned that Killebrew was passed over several time in the Hall of Fame voting. How is that possible? I know there are a few HOF voters who will not vote for anyone, but how could any sane person who knows baseball not see this guy as a first ballot Hall of Fame selection?
Especially because, as he was being passed over three times before being voted into Cooperstown, he ranked second all-time among right-handed home run hitters behind Hank Aaron. When he retired in 1975, he ranked second to Babe Ruth all-time among American League home run hitters. Utter nonsense he wasn't a first-ballot HOFer.
FROM: Bob D.
Thanks Scott. You understand.
FROM: Kevin M.
Thank you so much for this article about Harmon Killebrew. He was such an inspiration to me while I was a boy. I loved listening to the radio and watching him play.
We've always gotta remember our inspirations, don't we?
Great piece, Scott. A classic. History ... gracefully.
One thing you learn when writing a piece like that: How many Yankees fans lack a sense of humor.
Your column that the Yankees do not grow old gracefully is pretty interesting. Are the quotes accurate from these past managers and owners?
Uh, no. The tipoff was in the fact that I said the old Yankees diaries were grabbed by Navy SEALS at the YES Network fortress. Almost all of the historical information in the column is factual: The Yanks dumping Ruth, management leaning on Joe McCarthy to remove Lou Gehrig from the lineup sooner than he did because Gehrig's production was down, Steinbrenner forcing Reggie Jackson to take a physical ... all true. I had some fun with the "quotes" and what they were "thinking" at the time.
FROM: Eric S.
Really liked the concept, Scott. Was completely thrown off when I saw you were going make-believe, and not funny at that. The real dagger was the Gehrig stuff, though. That is just tasteless. I am hard to offend and think I have a well-developed sense of inappropriate humor, but there are some things that will never be funny. With all that Yankee material in your hands, trying to instead get laughs out of a debilitating disease is kind of pathetic. You could have done what it seemed like you set out to do -- tell the actual stories, not a corny, LOL nimrod version and had a great column. You can do far better.
Oh come on now. You can't tell me you didn't at least chuckle at the Joe Pepitone line.
You're an idiot. I want the 30 seconds of my life back that I wasted reading this drivel.
We just completed an old-fashioned baseball trade: I dealt your 30 seconds for the 30 it took to read your drivel.
FROM: Lee P.
I actually know Babe Dahlgren’s grandson. John wears Babe’s 1939 World Championship ring in honor of his grandfather. He will get a kick out of your column! I grew up in NY and finally moved to sunny, beautiful Southern California in 1995 and still love the Yankees. Yankees management and the media are always up to something. Keep up the good work!
Ah, 1939: A four-game Yanks sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, and Dahlgren contributed a homer and two RBI.
Re.: Compared to Yanks, 'immature' Rays whip-smart
You may be the worst baseball columnist on all of the major sports sites on the internet. Your bias shines through in every article you write, and is hardly EVER backed by any facts. Consider a new career. Maybe put a cool rag on your forehead, sit in a dark room, and re-evaluate your life.
Funny, I do that about twice a year. Usually with pizza, Mountain Dew and National Lampoon's Animal House playing.
Cheesy? Cheesy? America's game should not wear Red, White and Blue on the most important days of the country? While Jackie Robinson's efforts were tremendous -- big Dodger fan here -- it was only in this country could that have happened in the western world. The only country to elect an African-American and did not have colonies in Africa. But it would seem history is not your forte, Ass!
If 100 percent of the profits from the red, white and blue caps went to the troops, I'd be fully in favor of it.
Wow ... banging on the Yankees with Tampa as the new flavor of the week. What guts, Scott. But I guess who would read what you write if it didn't include knocking the Yankees? I know I wouldn't. And congrats on one thing: You didn't even mention New York's bloated payroll. Oh but I forgot, you're a pro. You will save that one for next week when the Bombers have turned it around again.
Sorry, I stopped reading when you said you wouldn't read what I write if it didn't include knocking the Yankees. Was there anything pertinent after that?
Likes: Jim Leyland on interleague play. He's right. ... Very cool story, Cleveland's Orlando Cabrera missing a game the other day to become a U.S. citizen. ... Mets pitcher Dillon Gee. ... Sean Burroughs back in the majors (with Arizona) for the first time since 2007. Great story. ... Stephen Colbert the other night: "Starbucks is being sued for firing a dwarf. Or, as Starbucks calls him, a 'tall.'" ... Bridesmaids is pretty funny for a chick flick. Not great. But entertaining. Probably about as good as we're going to get in another crappy summer movie season. ... Bob Seger in Detroit for three shows this week. Wish I could be there for one of those -- and preferably for this past Tuesday's show when The Rockets opened. What a great, underrated Detroit group they were from the late 1970s-early 1980s. Turn up the radio, indeed.
Dislikes: Farewell to Harmon Killebrew, one of the great human beings the game has ever seen.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"When the Senators stopped playin’ ball
"The Twin Cities got the call
"Minnesota joined the American League
"With Mele at the reins
"The Twins made instant gains
"In ’65 they had the flag and an MVP
"I’m talkin’ baseball
"Allison and Perry
"Kitty Kaat and Jerry
"Don Mincher and Mudcat comin’ through
"Jimmie Hall and Davey Boswell, too
"Just like Tony ... the Killer and Carew
-- Terry Cashman, Talkin' Baseball (Twins version)