Twins great Harmon Killebrew passed away Tuesday after a battle with esophegal cancer. Here's what people in the game have to say about the Hall of Famer:
When I learned the news about Harmon today, I felt like I lost a family member. He has treated me like one of his own. It's hard to put into words what Harmon has meant to me. He first welcomed me into the Twins family as an 18-year-old kid and has continued to influence my life in many ways. He is someone I will never forget and will always treasure the time we spent together. Harmon will be missed but never forgotten.-- Twins catcher Joe Mauer
As a professional athlete today, it is very easy to get caught up in the limelight. It is very easy to generate an ego and think you are bigger than this world and better than 99 percent of the people in it. Some athletes do portray themselves that way. I am very lucky to have met a true superstar.-- Twins player Michael Cuddyer, in an excerpt of an article he wrote on Killebrew
Harmon is as big as they come. He did everything there was to do on a baseball field. He set records, he won championships and he won the respect of his coaches, teammates and fans. If anyone could be excused to have an ego, it would be Harmon Killebrew.
What separated him, though, was the fact that he didn't. Not only did he not have an ego, he would always change the subject when talking about how good he was. He would always take the time to ask people how they were doing and what they were up to, and he would genuinely listen to their responses. He was and is the epitome of professionalism, generosity and class.
It is with profound sadness that we share with you that our beloved Harmon passed away this morning. He died peacefully surrounded by Nita and our family. He will be missed more than anyone can imagine but we take solace in the fact that he will no longer suffer. We thank you for your outpouring of support and prayers and take comfort in the fact that he was loved by so many.-- The Killebrew family
When I was a kid, I mean, you loved the name and the player and the excitement he brought when he went to the plate, and how far he could hit the ball. As I got into professional ball, and as I got a chance to meet him -- I didn't know him well but in talking to other people -- what a nice man he was. He was a real classy man who loved baseball and got back involved in it with the Twins. They loved having Harmon there. It's a moving story about him going into hospice, kind of saying it's my time. He accepted his fate and he did it with such class.-- Giants manager Bruce Bochy
I am truly saddened by the loss of Harmon Killebrew, one of the great human beings I have ever known. All of Baseball has lost a true gentleman who represented the Minnesota Twins with class and grace for decades. Harmon was as tough and feared a competitor on the field as the game has ever seen, while off the field he touched everyone he encountered with his sensitive and humble nature. He was not only a Hall of Fame player, but a Hall of Fame person.-- Commissioner Bud Selig
Harmon hit more than 40 home runs eight times in his career and had more home runs than any player in the 1960s. He was an 11-time All-Star, won the American League MVP in 1969 and helped the Minnesota Twins reach the World Series in 1965.
I recall with great fondness the many hours we spent together over the years and am so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time visiting with him this spring in Arizona. He led his life with modesty and dignity and I will miss him forever.
On behalf of Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Harmon's wife, Nita, their family and to all of the fans in Minnesota and throughout the Upper Midwest who were touched by this great man.
This is truly a sad day in the history of the Minnesota Twins organization. The Twins will remember Harmon for his many on-field contributions but importantly for the impeccable quality of his character, his great integrity and his compassion for everyone he encountered. The Pohlad family and the Twins organization send our thoughts and prayers to Nita and the rest of the Killebrew family. Harmon will be deeply missed by all.-- Twins owner Jim Pohlad
This is a sad day for all of baseball and even harder for those of us who were fortunate enough to be a friend of Harmon's. Harmon Killebrew was a gem. I can never thank him enough for all I learned from him. He was a consummate professional who treated everyone from the brashest of rookies to the groundskeepers to the ushers in the stadium with the utmost of respect. I would not be the person I am today if it weren't for Harmon Killebrew. He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.-- Rod Carew
Harmon Killebrew personified Hall of Fame excellence in every aspect of his dynamic life. He will forever be remembered for his 573 career home runs and as the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player, and as one of the greatest hitters of his era. Since joining the Hall of Fame family in 1984, Harmon was a beacon of light among his fellow Hall of Famers, always smiling, always enjoying every moment that life delivered to his doorstep. We have so many fond memories of this wonderful baseball hero, and we will miss him enormously.-- Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Harmon was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. He was baseball's version of Paul Bunyan, with his prodigious home run power, leading by example in the clubhouse and on the field. Off the field, he emanated class, dignity, and warmth, and he was a great humanitarian. He was so down-to-earth, you would never realize he was a baseball legend. It’s ironic that his nickname was ‘Killer,’ as he was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth.-- Jeff Idelson, Hall of Fame President
No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon’s legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time.-- Dave St. Peter, President, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club
Harmon killebrew RIP... A man who accomplished a lot in his life on and off the field! #livelifetothefullest-- Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia on Twitter
And here are several quotes from people upon learning of Killebrew's assignment to hospice care last Friday, courtesy FoxSportsNorth.com:
He was a great teammate, a great father-like figure. He was just a man that loved life. He respected everybody. That was the biggest thing about Harmon was he had a great, big heart, and he always gave back as much as he could.Hall of Famer and teammate Bert Blyleven
Killebrew, he is Mr. Minnesota. Everybody knows about Harmon Killebrew. They remember him playing as he hit all those home runs. For the people who had the opportunity to meet him in person, they remember him too as a great person, a great human being. I think he was too nice to be a baseball player because I never saw him mad or anything.-- Teammate Tony Oliva
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