Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great Player, Great Ambassador, Great Man

Today, the Twins lost a great player, baseball lost a great ambassador, and the world lost a great man. Harmon Killebrew passed away at the age of 74 from the effects of esophageal cancer.

I was about 7 or 8 during his last seasons with the Twins, not really old enough to appreciate him as a player. But I always knew him. He and his legacy was always there, always part of the Twins experience, much like the Minny and Paul logo. You couldn't know the Twins without knowing Harmon.

I enjoy reading the stories about him what a great person he was. I experienced that a little myself in a 30-second encounter with him in the halls of the Metrodome. I was with my family, including my mom, on a tour of the dugout and clubhouse. Somehow, we became separated from our group, and we were hustling down the hallways to catch up before we got into trouble. Hurrying in the other direction was Harmon. My mom was thrilled to see him and stopped him to talk for a bit. Despite the fact he was clearly on his way somewhere, he was more than willing to shake her hand and chat with her for a moment. I'll always remember that; he taught me that if a great ballplayer like him could take a selfless moment to be kind to a fan he didn't know, anybody can afford to be nice to others.

I also enjoy reading the stories about how proud he was about his autograph and how he would chide the younger players about the importance of having a readable signature. I'd have to agree:

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