Since one of the players in this memory is Harmon Killebrew, I get to tell of this moment again. The surprisingly diminutive, but powerful slugger passed away today of cancer.
I believe it was 1996 or so, when the Hillerich & Bradsby folks moved back across the river, and opened a new headquarters and museum on Main Street. Lots of Hall of Famers showed, including Teddy Ballgame.
I happened upon Ernie Banks and Killebrew as they were being given a tour of the plant where they fashion those major league Louisville Sluggers. I joined a small flock of hangers on, following the two former stars around the facility, savoring their big league banter.
At one point the twosome stopped in front of a palette of partially finished lumber. Killebrew picked a bat up and took a few swings.
Examining the wood, he turned to Banks, “Ernie, what’s better, open or closed grained wood?”
“Harmon, I always like open grained.”
“Oh, Ernie, you don’t know. Everybody knows you can hit it farther with a close grain,” Killebrew kidded.
“Well, Harmon, I must know something. I hit 512 homers.”
Harmon Killebrew hit 573.
– Seedy K