…here in southern Minnesota today. All the Twins’ travails are forgotten for the moment, because news has come down in the last half hour or so that our mighty slugger, Harmon Killebrew, has passed away at age 74 from esophageal cancer this morning, with his wife and family at his side.

I’ll leave his playing stats to others to write about. Suffice it to say that he was a great home run hitter and an excellent all-around hitter, a very fine fielder and possibly the best all-around baseball player ever to come out of the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins organization.

But Harmon was more than a great baseball player; he was a true gentleman who treated everyone almost like an old friend. He was very approachable, always willing to sign autographs and chat with the fans. He was simply one of the nicest people you would ever be so fortunate to meet in your lifetime, and that is why he was so well-loved by the fans from those days when he was playing; but in fact later generations of fans as well as Twins players have also come to love Harmon, because he was such a giving and caring person. Even players who are far too young to have ever seen him play loved the guy as they got to know him when he came down to Florida to help out coaching in spring training, later finding out what incredible numbers the guy had put up when he was a player.

As a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I have to approach the subject of Harmon Killebrew’s standing with the Lord and his salvation. So often when a public figure dies we have to say we just don’t know, and we have to trust in the Lord’s mercy. With Harmon, to be honest I have to say I don’t know for sure, but judging on the evidence I have seen, that is, the way he lived his life and the peace he had at the end, it is much easier to trust in the mercy of the Savior and say I believe I will likely be seeing my boyhood hero in heaven someday.

God bless you, Harmon, and hit a few more home runs for your fans down here when you play on that great baseball field in the sky.