In 2011, the Minnesota Twins announced that legend Harmon Killebrew’s health was deteriorating and he was entering hospice care. Fans around the country, and especially in the Upper Midwest, chimed in to tell tales of Killebrew. I recall finding it interesting that very few of those stories had anything to do with anything that occurred on a baseball field. Most of these stories involved something he had told a kid, shaking hands with fans, his impeccably legible autograph, or some charitable event that he came to and inspired masses. People talked about how great he was as a person.
His baseball prowess was hardly mentioned. His 573 home runs. His 1,584 RBI. His MVP. His six AL home run championships. His 11 All Star appearances. Those are all part of his story, but the stories people told were of Harmon Killebrew, the great human being.
Following Killebrew’s death, the Minnesota Twins established the Harmon Killebrew Award for Community Service, and each year, the Twins have named one winner for each of their four full-season affiliates. Each affiliate’s GM nominated a recipient who exemplifies Killebrew through their work in the community.