Posts Tagged ‘Harmon Killebrew’

Farewell, Harmon Killebrew

May 17, 2011

As an eight-year-old baseball nut in Minnesota, I naturally idolized hometown hero Harmon Killebrew. The Minnesota Twins slugger died today at the age of seventy-four from esophageal cancer. His death was not unexpected. Four days ago, he released a statement that he was discontinuing treatment to enter hospice care, where he would live out his final hours in peace and comfort, surrounded by his loved ones.

While the news that Harmon was near the end may have been a shock, it was no surprise that he would reach out to his fans in this way one more time. Harmon was known for his kind heart, gentle nature and rapport with fans, who still cherished the memory of Harmon Killebrew launching yet another blast into the bleachers.

I was fortunate to meet Harmon twice as an adult. Around 1986, Harmon was making an appearance at the Shinders bookstore in Burnsville. I worked at a different Shinders location on the weekends but was given the honor of helping to oversee the event. I was standing next to Harmon, who was sitting at a table signing autographs for his legion of adoring fans. I mentioned that he had hit 583 homers. “No,” he cheerfully corrected me. “573.” I was mortified. Like a golfer (more…)

Ernie and Herb

May 5, 2010

Statue of Ernie Harwell in front of Detroit's Comerica Park

I heard the news this morning that legendary Detroit Tigers baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell died yesterday at the age of ninety-two. He called games for the Tigers from 1960 through 2002. It is not a stretch to say that Ernie was beloved throughout the game and uniformly hailed as one of the nicest men you could ever hope to meet.

Click here to read some heartwarming stories about Ernie, including the tale of how he unintentionally played matchmaker for singer Jose Feliciano and his wife.

I was only dimly aware of Ernie while growing up in the Twin Cities and only began learning about him a few years ago through sports-talk radio. A while back, I bought a wonderful four-hour CD called Ernie Harwell’s Audio Scrapbook, a collection of Ernie’s broadcasting highlights and interviews. Listen to five minutes of samples from it by watching the video below.

Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal

While listening to and reading all the tributes for Ernie pouring in from media members and fans, my thoughts naturally drifted back to my own childhood memories of listening to iconic Minnesota Twins broadcaster Herb Carneal, the voice of the Twins from 1962 (their second season) all the way through the 2006 season. Herb, who (more…)