One of the premiere sluggers of the 1950s and 1960s, Harmon Killebrew played first base, third base and left field during his 22-year Major League career. Known primarily as a superstar for the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins franchise from 1954 to 1974, Killebrew would finish his career by playing in 106 games for the Kansas City Royals in 1975. During the 1960s, he would hit 40 home runs in a season eight times. His finest season was 1969, when he hit 49 home runs, recorded 140 RBI, and won the AL MVP Award. Killebrew led the league 6 times in home runs and three times in RBIs, and was named to eleven All-Star teams. When he retired, he 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 (since surpassed by Alex Rodriguez). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, his fourth year of eligibility.
I completed this sketch card in August 2012.
10 random facts about Harmon Killebrew:
- Killebrew signed his first contract under MLB's Bonus Rule, which required that he spend 2 full seasons on the Major League roster; he would make his big league debut 4 days after signing his contract, at age 17.
- On July 18, 1962, in a game against the Cleveland Indians, Killebrew and Bob Allison became the first teammates since 1890 to hit grand slams in the same inning as the Twins would score 11 runs in the first.
- On August 3, 1962, he was the first batter ever to hit a baseball over the left field roof at Tiger Stadium, a seldom-reached target that only 3 others were able to accomplishe over the next 37 seasons, before the stadium was closed.
- Elected to play first base on the 1965 AL All-Star team, Killebrew became the first player in All-Star game history to be elected at three different positions, having previously been selected to play third base (1959 and 1961) and left field (1963 and 1964).
- On June 3, 1967, Killebrew blasted the longest home run ever hit at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis- a shot that landed in the second deck of the bleachers.
- Before the 1971 season began, he was awarded the first $100,000 contract in Twins' history.
- His uniform number 3 was retired in May 1975, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals, before a Royals-Twins game at Metropolitan Stadium.
- The street along the south side of the Mall of America, the former site of Metropolitan Stadium, was named "Killebrew Drive" in his honor.
- Killebrew finished with the record for having the most plate appearances (9,831) without a sacrifice hit; this was since broken by Frank Thomas and his 10,074 plate appearances.
- He holds the all-time home run record among players born in the state of Idaho with 573; Vance Law is second with 71.