Harmon Clayton Killebrew had a 22 year major league career, and retired as the career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter (the record has since been broken).
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 Don Drysdale's Los Angeles Dodgers. Killebrew had his finest season in 1969, hitting 49 home runs, driving in 140 runs, 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.
With exceptional upper-body strength, Killebrew was known not just for home run frequency but also significant "tape measure homer" distance. He hit the longest measured home runs at the ballparks in Minnesota and Baltimore, and was the first of just four batters who cleared the left field roof at Detroit.
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 never hit 50 home runs in a single season, but he did hit 49 homers in a season twice (1964, 1969). He hit the most home runs for any player in the 1960s. For his entire career, he hit 573 home runs (ninth best all time, most by an American League right-hander, and second in the AL only to Babe Ruth, as of 2005) 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.
Following his retirement, Killebrew was a television broadcaster for the Twins from 1976 to 1978, the Oakland Athletics from 1979 to 1982, the California Angels in 1983 and back with Minnesota from 1984 to 1988. While with Oakland, he also served as a major- and minor-league hitting instructor. 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 currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he chairs the Harmon Killebrew Foundation.
This data was drawn from Wikipedia.
This episode was originally broadcast as a national radio syndication in July 1987.
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