MINNEPOLIS (WCCO) – The sounds of cheers and the voices of sports announcers that usually come from Smalley’s 87 in Minneapolis were replaced during Friday’s lunch hour with somber reflection.
The diners in the restaurant, like many across Minnesota, were watching Harmon Killebrew’s funeral service.
“You really admire someone like that who was so excellent in their profession, and I think the town felt the same,” said Twins fan Denise Tschida.
As Killebrew’s friends and family members spoke about him in Arizona, his Minnesota fans shared their Killebrew memories.
“My brother and I were close in age, and whenever we would get together with friends to play baseball we’d have to do the bat-on-the-hands thing to decide who was going to be Harmon Killebrew,” said Twins fan Chuck Speier.
“The young kids that are coming up through the system today and the guys he used to play with all talk about what an awesome individual he was,” said Twins fan Tom Clifford.
For the past week, Killebrew fans have left flowers, notes and balloons near Killebrew’s statue at Target Field. The tokens of appreciation show how important an athlete Killebrew was to generations of fans.
“He’s got to be the best ever,” Speier said.