It is said that every Twins fan, at least of a certain age, has a Killebrew story. Now I could tell you about how my aging grandfather used to tell me about his own baseball heroes, and how Killer could really hit the ball out of the park. I could tell you about my own adult encounters with the nicest guy to ever play major league baseball. But there’s one little story about me and Killebrew that is always in my mind. It’s short, but here it is:
When I was twelve years old, I went with my Boy Scout troop to the old Met to watch the Twins play the Washington Senators (that’s right, the replacement for the Twins in Washington) on a sunny, fall day. It seems to me it was in very early October of 1965. The Twins had earlier wrapped up their first American League pennant and were playing out the final games of the regular season.
As a young boy, I was no different from any of the other young boys, and I loved Harmon! The Killer could really hit the ball out of the park, and we wanted to see him do it every time he got up to bat. It seems to me that the Twins were behind in the score in this particular game; I believe they eventually lost it.
Anyway, it was getting later on in the game, the Twins were behind, and the first two batters of the inning had gone out. Up to the plate strode the broad shoulders of our hero, and all the fans started hollering. So did I:
“Come on, Harmon! Hit a grand slam!”
Yup, that’s right. The bases were empty. But I was only twelve, and my understanding of baseball wasn’t nearly what it is today. At the time I thought a grand slam was a home run that was hit all the way out of the park, beyond the outfield bleachers, and into the parking lot.
My troop leader started chuckling, and my fellow Boy Scouts were laughing.
I even imagined that Harmon himself turned around and looked at me with a grin on his face.
At least now I think I imagined it.