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Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Killebrew
First Baseman
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Born: June 29, 1936
MLB Debut
June 23, 1954 for the Washington Senators
Final game
September 26, 1975 for the Kansas City Royals
Career Statistics
Batting average     .256
Home runs     573
RBI     1584
Career Highlights and Awards
  • 11 All-Star appearances
  • AL MVP (1969)
  • Led AL in home runs 6 times
  • Hit 40 home runs in a season 8 times
  • 9th player to hit 500 career home runs

Harmon Clayton Killebrew (June 29, 1936 – May 17, 2011) was a Major League Baseball player and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was famous for his ability to hit home runs, primarily during the 1960s.

Killebrew was an all-state quarterback at Payette High School when Washington Senators scout Ossie Bluege saw him playing in an impromptu baseball game in 1954. After seeing Killebrew's raw power, Bluege reported back to the Senators who immediately signed him to a $30,000 contract. Because of his large bonus, Killebrew was a bonus baby. Because of the Bonus Rule, he was immediately added to the big league roster in 1954, though not yet having reached his eighteenth birthday. He played only small parts for five seasons, bouncing back and forth between the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and Washington. While Killebrew was in Chattanooga, he became the only player to hit a home run over the 471-foot deep center field wall at Engel Stadium. He finally made it into the regular lineup in 1959, and hit 42 homers. The Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

Killebrew was a stocky 5 ft 11 in, 210 pounds (95 kg) hitter with a short, compact swing that generated tremendous power. (See the image on the right.) Killebrew became one of the American League's most feared power hitters of the 1960s, belting 40 homers in a season eight times. In 1965 he helped the Twins reach the World Series, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Killebrew had his finest season in 1969, hitting 49 home runs, driving in 140 RBI's, and winning the MVP Award. Killebrew led the league in home runs six times, in RBI three times, and was named to eleven All Star teams. As a result, he was nicknamed "Killer" - a portmanteau linking the first 5 letters of his last name with his legendary hitting ability.

On June 3, 1967, Killebrew blasted the longest home run ever hit at the Twins' Metropolitan Stadium, a shot that landed in the second deck of the bleachers, and four years later on August 10, 1971, he hit his 500th career home run, also at The Met.

Despite his "Killer" nickname and his powerful style of play, Killebrew was in fact a quiet, kind man who was not much given to the partying lifestyle enjoyed by his peers. Asked once what he liked to do for fun, Killebrew replied, "Well, I like to wash dishes, I guess." Killebrew was baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in 1968. His wife was a lifelong member.

Injuries reduced his effectiveness in the early 1970s, and in 1975, after a one-year stint with the Kansas City Royals, he chose to retire. Killebrew hit 573 home runs in his career (11th best all time, 2nd most by an American League right-handed batter to Alex Rodriguez, and third in the AL only to Rodriguez and Babe Ruth, as of 2020) and drove in 1,584 runs. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, the first Minnesota Twin to be so honored. The street along the south side of the enormous Mall of America, the former site of the Metropolitan Stadium ("The Met"), has been named "Killebrew Drive" in honor of Harmon Killebrew. His uniform number 3 was the first to be retired by the Twins, and is only one of five Twins to have their jersey retired — Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett are the others. He is, by a wide margin, the all-time home run leader among players born in the state of Idaho. "If Harmon Killebrew isn't the league's best player, I've never seen one. He's one of the greatest of all time" (quote by Reggie Jackson)

Following his retirement, Killebrew was a broadcaster for Minnesota Twins baseball from 1976 to 1978 and also from 1984 to 1988. Killebrew also became a successful entrepreneur in insurance, financial planning, and car sales. In 1990 he retired from business to pursue endorsement and charity work, especially in the fields of preventive and palliative health care charities and international causes Killebrew resided in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he chaired the Harmon Killebrew Foundation [1]. On December 29, 2010, Killebrew announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus and he began treatment of this normally fatal disease. He announced on May 13. 2011 that treatment failed and that he was entering hospice care. He died on May 17, 2011 at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 74, about 6 weeks short of his 75th birthday.

In 1999, he was ranked 69th on The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.


  • Common Folklore suggests that the silhouette of Harmon Killebrew swinging a bat is the official logo of Major League Baseball. However, states the following: "The MLB logo: No one player has ever been identified as the model of the 1969 Major League Baseball batter logo".
  • On the list of lowest batting averages for league RBI champions, Killebrew holds both the number one spot and the number three spot. In 1962, he won the RBI title while batting just .243 – the lowest ever for an RBI champion — and, in 1971, he again led the league in RBI but hit only .254 — the third-lowest ever.
  • As non-pitchers, only Killebrew, Bill Mazeroski and Rabbit Maranville have been elected into the Hall of Fame while never once batting .300 (over a full season) in their careers.
  • One seat from Metropolitan Stadium was placed in the Mall of America at the exact location (including elevation) it occupied in the stadium, to commemorate a 520-foot home run hit by Killebrew on June 3, 1967.
  • Killebrew never hit 50 home runs in a single season, but he did hit 49 homers in a season twice (1964, 1969).
  • Once hit a homerun in batting practice before a game that knocked the back off a seat.
  • In 1969, the season in which Rod Carew stole home base a major-league record seven times, Killebrew was at the plate for one of the steals. Killebrew missed the take sign from his third-base coach, was unaware that Carew was stealing home, and swung and missed. This prompted a local Minneapolis sportswriter to quip, "There goes Rod Carew, lined to left by Killebrew!"
  • Prior to the late 1990s, Killebrew was the only player besides Babe Ruth to have more than 2 consecutive seasons of 45 or more home runs. He had 4 in a row from 1961-1964. (Ruth had 6 in a row from 1926-1931).

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