Monday, February 15, 2010

#400 Harmon Killebrew

#400 Harmon Killebrew
THE KILLER! What a great card, and in such great shape. I know that of the 56 cards that I have yet to obtain from this set, there are some big names left to go, so I was surprised to consult my checklist and see that I have four of the five "Hero Number" cards - per Ben Henry, these are cards with nice round double-zero numbers, traditionally reserved by Topps for the biggest stars. The only one I'm missing is #200, Joe Torre.

Fun Facts about Harmon Killebrew:

-Born in Payette, ID, Harmon was a bonus baby signing for the original Senators in 1954.

-Per bonus baby rules, he went straight to the majors at age 18, but played sparingly for years; he did not exceed 100 at-bats in a season until his sixth year in the bigs.

-His first prolonged exposure to American League pitching was a success: in 1959, he led the league with 42 home runs, walked 90 times, and drove in 105 runs. It was the first of 11 seasons in which he was tabbed as an All-Star.

-During that season, Harmon bashed 15 homers in May. He hit one of those on May 29 in a 7-6 victory over the Red Sox with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in attendance, and autographed the ball and presented it to the Prez for his grandson David.

-In all, Killebrew topped the A.L. in homers six times and led in RBI thrice and walks four times. Despite striking out often, he only led the loop in whiffs once.

-In 1965, he batted .286 and got on base at a .444 clip in his only World Series. He homered against Dodgers starter Don Drysdale in Game 4, but drove in just one more run in the series as Los Angeles prevailed in seven games.

-Was the A. L. MVP in 1969, when he powered the Twins to a Western Division crown with league bests and career highs in home runs (49), RBI (140), walks (145), and on-base percentage (.427). The Orioles chose to pitch around him in the ALCS, walking him six times but holding him to one hit as they swept Minnesota in three games.

-Finished his career as the Royals' designated hitter in 1975. In a career that spanned 22 years, he hit .256 with an excellent .376 on-base percentage, 573 home runs (still tenth all-time), and 1,584 RBI.

-After calling it quits, he lent his voice to Twins' TV broadcasts from 1976-1978 and 1984-1988. The club retired his #3 in 1975, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

-He has long been rumored to have been the prototype for Major League Baseball's "batter silhouette" logo, which debuted in 1969.
#400 Harmon Killebrew (back)


  1. Love Harmon! Looking at his stats, what a HR run from '61-'64, 45 or more each year.

  2. Hackenbush - It's amazing to think of what he could've done if the Senators had put him in the lineup sooner or if injuries hadn't cut short a season or two later on. He was on pace with Babe Ruth for a while.

  3. I recall some talk about Harmon's "average" batting average when his name was up for the HOF. How dare they. This guy did it all without the help of a needle. Just true grit. And he didn't get paid millions of bucks either.