Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew Dead At 74 [PHOTOS]
Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew died Tuesday at his Scottsdale, Arizona home after battling esophageal cancer, reports ESPN.com. He was 74. Killebrew was diagnosed with the cancer six months ago.
Nicknamed “The Killer,” Killebrew, who played from 1954-1975, was an 11-time All-Star who won the American League MVP Award in 1969. With him anchoring the lineup, the Twins went to the World Series for the first time in 1965 and made appearances in the American League Championship Series in 1969 and 1970. Killebrew became the first Twin to be immortalized in the hall of fame, getting inducted in 1984. His jersey was retired by the Twins in 1975.
Killebrew retired as the American League’s career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter with 573 – a record that has since been passed by Alex Rodriguez.
News of Killebrew’s death hit the baseball world hard. According to the Associated Press, current Twins star Joe Mauer said, “When I learned the news about Harmon today, I felt like I lost a family member. He has treated me like one of his own. It’s hard to put into words what Harmon has meant to me. He first welcomed me into the Twins family as an 18-year-old kid and has continued to influence my life in many ways. He is someone I will never forget and will always treasure the time we spent together. Harmon will be missed but never forgotten.”
Fellow hall of famer and former teammate Rod Carew said, according to the Associated Press, “This is a sad day for all of baseball and even harder for those of us who were fortunate enough to be a friend of Harmon’s. Harmon Killebrew was a gem. I can never thank him enough for all I learned from him. He was a consummate professional who treated everyone from the brashest of rookies to the groundskeepers to the ushers in the stadium with the utmost of respect. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Harmon Killebrew. He was a hall of famer in every sense of the word.”
According to ESPN.com, Twins President Dave St. Peter said Killebrew’s enduring legacy “will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man.”