Teams: Washington Senators,1954-1960; Minnesota Twins, 1961-1974; Kansas City Royals, 1975
Harmon Killebrew won the AL
MVP Award in 1969 when he hit
49 homers, drove in 140 runs,
and drew 145 walks.
Born in 1936, Harmon Clayton Killebrew was an All-State quarterback in Idaho and a semi-pro baseball star. When he was age 17, he was recommended to Clark Griffith of the Senators by Idaho senator Herman Walker, who wanted to see his young constituent in the majors. Killebrew blasted a 435-foot homer for scout Ossie Bluege, who found out that Harmon was batting .847 with half of the hits being home runs. Bluege signed "Killer" immediately.
Killebrew was a bonus baby, and didn't get a chance to play full-time until 1959. Under the rules of the time, the Senators had to keep him in the bigs for two years, and he sat on the bench in 1954 and 1955, getting in only 47 games, and then spent most of the next three seasons in the minors.
He was a third baseman when he came back up, and though he eventually played more games at first base than third, he had significant playing time at the hot corner until 1971. He eventually earned outstanding AL left fielder, third baseman, and first baseman honors from The Sporting News.
Killer was ready when he played as a regular in 1959, leading the league with 42 home runs during his first full season, and he hit 31 the next year, after which the Senators became the Minnesota Twins. A dead-pull hitter, he hit 46 for his new fans in 1961, but that year Roger Maris went on his spree.
Killebrew led the league in 1962, '63, and '64, hitting 142 long balls in the three seasons and driving in 333 runs. The Twins rocketed to first place in 1965 with 102 wins, though Killer had one of his poorest years due to an elbow injury, and the Twins lost the World Series.
Killebrew had established himself as a major star with his consistent slugging, and he won the AL MVP Award in 1969 when he hit 49 homers, drove in 140 runs, and drew 145 walks, leading the league with a .430 on-base average. His walk totals were impressive, and though he drew criticism for his less-than-impressive batting averages, his on-base averages were usually among the best in the league.
The Twins won the AL West its first two years of existence but failed to return to the World Series. Knee problems began to slow Harmon, and after a final year with Kansas City as a designated hitter, he retired after the 1975 season. Harmon was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984.
Here are Harmon Killebrew's major league totals:
|BA||G ||AB||R||H||2B ||3B||HR ||RBI ||SB |
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