A Hall of Fame human

By Craig Muder

For my first four decades, I knew Harmon Killebrew the way I knew most of the 17,000-plus other men who played Major League Baseball: Through ink on a page.

He was the mighty slugger, the six-time American League home run champion. He was the heart of the 1965 AL champion Minnesota Twins, even though an injury that year limited him to just 113 games.

I always thought it spoke volumes about that Twins team that they were able to win the pennant without a dominant season from their best player. Little did I know that Harmon’s mere presence in the clubhouse was – quite possibly – a bigger influence than anything he did on the field.

Killebrew’s passing on Tuesday brought an end to a life that exuded positive energy. Anyone meeting Harmon in the last 20 years – and having never known he was a player – would have felt it a privilege just to know a man for whom decency and honesty was a way of life.

I know I did.

The fact that he hit 573 home runs and played on 13 All-Star teams seemed secondary to the core values Killebrew promoted by his daily actions. The mere mention of his name brought a smile to the lips of anyone who met him.

If his name was erased from every record book ever printed, Harmon Killebrew would still have been a Hall of Fame human being.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

1 Comment

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