5/19/11 – Harmon Killebrew

One sign you’re getting old is when you start reading the obituaries in the newspaper every morning. Another sign, of course, is that you’re reading the newspaper, but that’s another story. A sign you’re feeling old is when your boyhood heroes start dying.

The passing of baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew earlier this week makes me feel old. The Minnesota Twins slugger was one of my first heroes. I only saw him play a few times on TV, but I can still see his baseball cards and remember how happy and proud I was when I’d open a penny pack of bubble gum and see Killebrew staring back at me. Having a Killebrew card was a very big deal to a 9-year-old who dreamed of one day being a big leaguer.

Killebrew was a relatively short, squatty, balding man who could hit a baseball a country mile. Each week when The Sporting News arrived I’d study the boxscores from the previous week. One of the first things I did was look to see how Killebrew did. On the playground I often pretended to be him.

I never met him, but I sure will miss him.

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