69 Facts About Harmon Killebrew


Harmon Killebrew was a prolific power hitter who spent most of his 22-year career in Major League Baseball with the Minnesota Twins.

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At the time of his retirement Harmon Killebrew had the fifth-most home runs in major league history.

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Harmon Killebrew was second only to Babe Ruth in American League home runs, and was the AL career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter.

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Harmon Killebrew was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

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Harmon Killebrew's compact swing generated tremendous power and made him one of the most feared power hitters of the 1960s, when he hit at least 40 home runs in a season eight times.

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In total Harmon Killebrew led the league six times in home runs and three times in RBIs, and was named to 13 All-Star teams.

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Harmon Killebrew served as a hitting instructor for the Oakland Athletics.

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Harmon Killebrew's father, a painter and sheriff, was a member of an undefeated Millikin College football team who was later named an All-American under eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Greasy Neale.

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Harmon Killebrew worked as a farmhand in his youth, lifting ten-gallon milk cans, each weighing about 95 pounds.

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Harmon Killebrew earned 12 letters in various sports and was named an All-American quarterback at Payette High School; the school retired his uniform number.

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Harmon Killebrew was offered an athletic scholarship by the University of Oregon, but declined the offer.

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Harmon Killebrew made his major league debut four days after signing and six days from his 18th birthday, running for pinch-hitter Clyde Vollmer, who had been hit by a pitch with the bases loaded by Chicago White Sox starter Jack Harshman.

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Harmon Killebrew had defensive difficulties at third base, where he played behind veteran Eddie Yost.

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Harmon Killebrew spent most of the 1957 season with the Southern Association's Chattanooga Lookouts, where he hit a league-high 29 home runs with 101 RBIs and was named to the All-Star Game.

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Harmon Killebrew finished the season with 38 games played in Indianapolis and 86 in Chattanooga, where he hit.

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Harmon Killebrew played a combined 22 games for the Senators in 1957 and 1958.

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Calvin Griffith took over the Senators after his uncle Clark Griffith died in 1955, and decided Harmon Killebrew was ready to become the Senators' regular third baseman.

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Harmon Killebrew finished the season with 42 home runs to tie for the American League lead; it tied the Senators' single-season record set by his teammate Roy Sievers two years earlier.

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Franchise's first year in Minnesota, Harmon Killebrew was named team captain by manager Cookie Lavagetto.

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Harmon Killebrew responded by hitting 46 home runs, breaking the franchise record he had tied two years earlier.

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On June 12,1961, Harmon Killebrew had the only five-hit game of his career, though in a losing effort.

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Harmon Killebrew did not play in the second, but in the first, he hit a pinch hit home run in the sixth inning.

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Harmon Killebrew moved to left field, where he started off the season slowly.

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Harmon Killebrew's efforts were rewarded in 1963 when he agreed to a contract for about $40,000.

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Harmon Killebrew continued his hitting prowess for the Twins upon his return, and at one point led them on a six-game winning streak.

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Harmon Killebrew had surgery on his troublesome right knee after the season ended.

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Harmon Killebrew drove in the tying or winning run seven times in 1965 before suffering an injury on August 2.

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Harmon Killebrew ended the regular season with 25 home runs and 75 RBI, his lowest numbers in a full season due to the injury.

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At the start of the 1966 season, Harmon Killebrew hit few home runs; halfway through May, he had hit only two, his lowest total at that point of a season since 1960, when he had missed the first two months of the season.

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Harmon Killebrew led the AL with 103 walks and finished 4th in Most Valuable Player Award voting after Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Boog Powell of the American League leading Baltimore Orioles.

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The Twins, led by Harmon Killebrew, were in the pennant race throughout the season, and had a one-game lead as the final two games of the season began against the Boston Red Sox.

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Harmon Killebrew finished a distant second in MVP voting to the Boston star.

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Harmon Killebrew led the best offense in the league and rookie manager Billy Martin's Twins won the new American League West division as a result.

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Season, Harmon Killebrew set career highs in RBIs, runs, walks and on-base percentage, tied his career high with 49 home runs, and even registered eight of his 19 career stolen bases, en route to winning his only Most Valuable Player Award.

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Baltimore avoided Harmon Killebrew by walking him six times in the three games to avoid pitching to him, which was as many times as they walked the rest of the Twins team.

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Harmon Killebrew was set to lead a team that had undergone a lot of change; Killebrew was one of only four Twins remaining from the 1965 pennant-winning club.

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Harmon Killebrew spent most of the season's first half continuing his success, and found Baltimore's Brooks Robinson rivalling him for the third base spot during the All-Star voting process; the two were neck-and-neck throughout.

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Harmon Killebrew continued his success through the second half of the year, and at season's end had hit 41 home runs with 113 RBIs and finished third in MVP voting behind teammate and runner-up Tony Oliva and Baltimore's Boog Powell.

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Harmon Killebrew upped his performance and hit two home runs in three games, but Minnesota was again swept.

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Harmon Killebrew reached 40 home runs in a season for the final time in 1970 and made his last appearance in the postseason.

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Harmon Killebrew's contract continued to grow in value though, and before the 1971 season began he was awarded the first $100,000 contract in Twins history.

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Harmon Killebrew appeared in his last All-Star Game in 1971, hitting a two-run home run off Ferguson Jenkins to provide the margin of victory for the AL.

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Harmon Killebrew hit his 498th home run on June 22,1971, but a sprained right toe made his run to milestone number 500 a slow one.

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Harmon Killebrew then wasted no time in hitting number 501, knocking a Cuellar fastball over the fences later in the same game.

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Harmon Killebrew missed his first All-Star Game since 1962, but instead of expressing disappointment in his streak ending, he noted that Twins shortstop Danny Thompson should have had the opportunity to play instead; Thompson mentioned the same thing about Killebrew.

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Harmon Killebrew played in only 69 games that season, hitting five home runs.

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Fully recovered for the 1974 season, Harmon Killebrew made his mark early on, hitting two home runs in a May 5 match against the Detroit Tigers; the second was career home run number 550.

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Harmon Killebrew chose to be released, ending his 21-season tenure with the Twins.

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On January 24,1975, eight days after getting his release from the Twins, Harmon Killebrew signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals.

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In that game, Harmon Killebrew hit a home run against his former teammates and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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Harmon Killebrew was first eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1981 and received 239 votes, or 59.

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Harmon Killebrew can knock the ball out of any park, including Yellowstone.

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Harmon Killebrew hit 573 home runs, drove in 1,584 RBIs and had 1,559 bases on balls during his career.

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Harmon Killebrew is the all-time home run record holder among players born in Idaho; Vance Law is second.

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Harmon Killebrew finished with the record of having the most plate appearances in his career without a sacrifice hit.

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Harmon Killebrew is the model for the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, an organization he helped found in 1982.

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Harmon Killebrew was known as an all-around gentleman during his playing career.

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Harmon Killebrew was one of the few players who would go out of his way to compliment umpires on a good job, even if their calls went against him.

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Harmon Killebrew was known for his quick hands and exceptional upper-body strength, demonstrated by frequent "tape measure" home runs he hit in the prime of his career.

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Harmon Killebrew said his first home run in the Majors was his favorite, coming off Billy Hoeft at Griffith Stadium.

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On May 24,1964, Harmon Killebrew hit the longest measured homer at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, 471 feet to deep left center.

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On June 3,1967, Harmon Killebrew hit a 520-foot home run, the longest measured home run ever hit at Metropolitan Stadium and, as of 2022, the longest in Twins history.

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Harmon Killebrew divorced his first wife of more than 30 years, Elaine Killebrew nee Roberts, whom he had married in 1955.

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Harmon Killebrew was involved in a Boise, Idaho insurance and securities business.

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Harmon Killebrew moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1990, where he chaired the Harmon Killebrew Foundation, which he created in 1998.

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Harmon Killebrew founded the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, now titled the Harmon Killebrew-Thompson Memorial in 1977 with former Idaho congressman Ralph Harding, which is played annually in late August in Sun Valley, Idaho, and has donated more than $15.

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On December 29,2010, Harmon Killebrew announced that he had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and started treatment.

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Harmon Killebrew died on May 17,2011, at his home in Scottsdale at the age of 74.

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Harmon Killebrew was interred at Riverside Cemetery in Payette, Idaho.

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