My Harmon Killebrew Moment

I don’t have a lot of baseball stories, so I try to space out over time the few I do have, not retelling them too very often.

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

2 Comments

  1. Charlie
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Nice anecdote. I was at the same function. I had a nice conversation with Lou Brock and Steve Garvey at the reception. As I recall, they said no autographs were to be requested from the Hall of Famers. I wish I had broken that rule.

  2. Wildcat
    Posted May 17, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    When I was young, very young, for some reason I adopted the Washington Senators as my American League team..I loved the name and even then probably was an underdog rooter. In any case, I loved Roy Seivers and Harmon Killebrew. For awhile even, my nickname was Killebrew…I bragged about him so much as grade school boys are wont to do about sports heroes. I never met him or even see him play in person but he was by all accounts, a true gentleman . RIP Harmon.

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