Praying For A Legend
I think that every state has their own, special sporting legends that seem to transcend the field of play and mean something just a bit more. In Minnesota, that figure was/is Harmon Killebrew.
Now, by the time I became interested in baseball, “The Killer” was already enshrined in Cooperstown, so I don’t have any first-hand insight into the matter, but sometimes you can just tell by the way a guy is talked about. I haven’t found a person yet who watched Twins baseball in the 1960s-early 70s and DIDN’T idolize Harm. As a child, my dad rooted for him at the old Met, got his autograph coming out of the stadium (which promptly got stuck in the bicycle spokes, of course…no pristine collector’s cases back then!), and emulated his batting stance and swing on the Little League diamonds.
Thus, I was very saddened to hear that Killebrew has contracted esophogeal cancer. This may be a tough nut to crack, but (in typical Harmon fashion) he is resolute on beating the diesease. Pretty mundane stuff for the guy who stared down the likes of Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale, right?
My thoughts and prayers are with the Killebrew family during this rough time. Having him around as a Twins ambassador reminds me that my elder generation (like my dad) once had heroes too, idolizing the same sort of “mythic” sports heroes I once (and still do) today.
Good luck Harm!