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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bucket List #6: A Legend Among Legends

I always liked Harmon Killebrew since I was a kid. Had really no idea who he was other than a player for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins that hit very well. Killebrew to me played the game the way it should be played and excelled through sheer talent and hard work.

He scuffled his first few years in the big leagues. Until '59 when he got a chance to play 3rd base regularly. He started smacking home runs all over the place and became an overnight sensation. Yep, overnight after just 4 years with the Senators. His power was legendary but it was his humble and polite persona that outshone all that. "Killer" became one of those ironic nicknames like calling a large man "Tiny." It never fit his personality but it fit his swing. Harmon hit some towering home runs, one of which was estimated to travel 520 feet unobstructed and there's a red seat commemorating that blast in the Mall of America. Also a statue of a gold glove resides outside Target field exactly 520 feet from home plate. Just awesome.

I could go on and on about Harmon. To say he has my utmost respect is putting it mildly. As a Yankee fan I'm constantly reminded how blown up every Yankee is and how if "so and so" played for the Yankees he'd be big too. To me Harmon didn't need any of that. His epic home runs and humbled personality fit perfectly for those Washington Senator/Minnesota Twins teams. I'm sure it brings great pride to have a legend like Killebrew be synonymous with the Twins organization.

He has probably one of the best autographs out there. It's clean, easy to read and distinctive. I ran across a comment about Killebrew's autograph on an article. The commenter had heard a story that Killebrew took his autograph very seriously. He said "When he saw young players scribbling illegible autographs, he would pull them aside and explain how important they were for the fans asking for them and encourage them to do them well. When mass-signing baseballs for charity auctions, he'd self-edit and throw out balls he didn't think were good enough. "

If you don't have a Killebrew auto I'd strongly urge picking one up. I was able to get the one above for less than $30 and I recently picked this 1999 Epic Signatures one after his passing for a little over $30.

Killebrew is a true legend. I find it a little funny that for years it was thought that the MLB logo was based on Killebrew. I even believed it. But really is it hard to believe that the model for MLB the ICON for MLB should be anyone other than Harmon Killebrew?