02-09-2013, 09:20 PM #1
Your favorite #3 memory
To countdown the days til pitchers and catchers report, we're going to list the Twins with those numbers (thanks to this awesome list) and let you can reminisce about one of them. So who is the poster boy for day #3....
Harmon Killebrew, 1961-74
So this is an easy one. There are a few other with just one player, but only one other one is under #65.
When I think of Killebrew, I think of my first live Twins game. My dad got some tickets from Unisys, where he worked, and if I remember it right (and I might not) it was a special game for Killebrew. Either he had come back with the Royals, or he had retired and the Twins were playing the Royals and both teams were honoring him. I had no idea who he was.
02-09-2013, 09:41 PM #2
I was there at Target Field when they honored him after he passed. It was hard not to bite back the tears that day and it was evident throughout the stadium. Really powerful moment for a fanbase about a genuinely great human being.
02-09-2013, 11:19 PM #3
He was my favorite player growing up. His passing was 'more emotional' for me than Puckett's.
02-10-2013, 02:28 AM #4
Killer was so great that you could almost call the pitch he was going to hit the homerun on.
02-10-2013, 02:51 AM #5
Killebrew is my favorite player of all time. I became a fan during the 1965 World Series.
02-10-2013, 05:56 AM #6
02-10-2013, 06:55 AM #7
I remember the agonizing wait for Harmon to hit his 500th home run in 1971. It took him like six weeks to go from 498 to 500.
02-10-2013, 07:32 AM #8
In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school (1965), the All Star game was in Minneapolis, and Dad had four tickets. We spent the preceding weekend with relatives in nearby Lakeville, and we attended the Sunday afternoon game that wrapped up a three game series with the Yankees, the perennial champions. A Sunday loss would cut the Twins lead to three games going into the All Star break. Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees had a one run lead, and quickly got two outs before a walk to pinch hitter Rich Rollins brought the Killer to the plate. He fouled off a 3-2 pitch, maybe two, before lining a homer into the left field bleachers, not too far from where we were sitting. Suddenly, the lead was five games, and the whole state began to believe that a pennant was possible. The Monday headline in the Mpls Star (then the evening version of the Star-Tribune) read "Forever Harmon," and we made a poster that quoted that line for the All Star game. We unfurled it and waved it proudly when the Killer homered in that game as well.
02-10-2013, 07:45 AM #9
I still love when Harmon was asked about steroids later in life - he was asked many times how many homers he would have hit if he took steroids. He would reply - "25 or 30" and when the questioner would ask "Why so few?", he'd reply - "Well you have to remember I'm in my 60's now.
My favorite moments - Killer on the back end of a triple steal behind Sir Rodney and Pepi Tovar (1969). Also the game winning homer before the 1965 All-star game against the YANKEES ( AL champs of 1964) propelling the Twins to the AL championship.
02-10-2013, 02:08 PM #10
To repeat a theme, he was before my time. As a youth I was unimpressed by low-BA power hitters, and since my first real concept of BA was in 1961, .288 was low, in the presence of hitters like Norm Cash. And he didn't even hit 54 or 61 homers like certain Yankees were prone to do - some power hitter, all he could hit that year was 46, same as Jim Gentile who my dad assured me was nothing special. So not yet being a Twins fan had me apathetic about the man. I got better.
My actual memory of Harmon therefore is tied to that 1961 baseball card, specifically the one on the back of the Post cereal box. As pre-teens, my brother and I later on devised our own home-brew poor-man's Strat-O-Matic game before we even knew such a product existed, or the equally fun type with the disk and spinner. We got our stats from baseball cards (please don't press me on the details on what we did to derive useful pitching probabilities), and we decided early on that 1) you had to actually possess a card of that guy's year to include him on a particular team and 2) whatever the card said, goes. For Harmon Killebrew, that 1961 Post card said "Infielder". So, even though by the mid-sixties we knew it flew in the face of reality, we allowed our Twins team to position him at Shortstop. Made for a much stronger all-time team if you had 1961 Harmon play short, while 1967/1969 Harmon played first and third, while a miscellaneous Harmon roamed left field.
A crummy memory, but a memory nonetheless.
[Edit: not that anyone's going to call me out on it, but yes, that would be the 1962 Killebrew card in the Post set. My brother and I also had our own nomenclature for the sets/years, and old habits die hard.]
Last edited by ashburyjohn; 02-11-2013 at 12:22 PM.
02-10-2013, 04:06 PM #11
I remember how Harmon used to do that snap throw from third base across the diamond. Zang!
He threw like a catcher - powerful forearms - and had a very good glove.
When he hit a baseball, it would come off his bat with a sound that was different from other players. It was a sharp, explosive bang, and the ball would come off his bat like a golf ball off a 7 iron. About the same loft, too.
02-10-2013, 05:08 PM #12
Killebrew was my grandfather's favorite player and he quickly became mine, I've been a Twins fan ever since.
02-10-2013, 07:31 PM #13
Never saw him live, but I used to LOVE Home Run Derby on ESPN Classic, and Killer was second only to Aaron in invincibility on that show.Staff Writer for Tomahawktake.com, come check it out!