By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Harmon Killebrew’s statement on Friday that he was entering hospice care is a last gift to his fans.

A generous superstar who never forgot that while his gifts got him to where he was, it is the fans who ultimately make professional sports possible. By sharing his decision to enter a hospice, he will no doubt influence others to follow suit.

On a stint on WCCO-AM Friday, I heard from several hospice workers that there is still a mystery surrounding the wonderful care these facilities provide, and that Killebrew’s announcement could help change that.

I have met him several times, interviewed him a few others. He was the most approachable and modest of stars. I saw him more than once in the press box at the Metrodome, standing quietly in the back, chatting with Twins employees.

In this age of the outsized, egotistical and outrageous sports superstar, Killebrew is the real deal. He’s a star for the ages to be admired for his accomplishments on and off the field, including his decision to share with his fans details of his final days.

Esme Murphy

Comments (13)
  1. Kristy g says:

    I was a little kid visiting my rellies in Kansas City in the 60s. We went to a double header between the Twins & whoever KC was (Atletics? Royals?) and it was at the downtown stadium.

    The day was harmon killebrew’s birthday. I remember being afraid cause I was cheering the Twins surrounded by strangers and KC people. Very scary as a little kid.

    What I didn’t know, of course, is that most adults love watching kids get excited over baseball. And, I was excited over my fav player, Killebrew!!! And, we all sang “happy birthday” to Harmon.

    I had never got his autograph for my Met Stadium bat-day bat. But oh well, just watching this outstanding man conduct his career and life has been far more valuable than an autograph’s worth. I love you, Harmon. You’re the best. Rest peacefully as you enter this new phase of life.

    Kristy G.
    New Hope, MN

  2. Dave Tackmann - Eau Claire, WI says:

    So correctly written and a true tribute to a REAL Hero of Twins past. Harmon was never about himself and his ego. He was about the Twins, Minnesota, the fans, and ALL the little eyes that watched him play the game. Having grown up myself in Minnesota. Harmon was the reason we went to the Met and the possibility of seeing one of his homeruns. He didn’t show boat around the bases. He just went into his slow run from home and around to the dugout like it was everyday business. It is to bad we don’t have more Harmon’s in sports today. God’s Blessing to the Killer. You will always be in my heart and many other Twins fans!

  3. Elsie says:

    Today’s ball players could learn a lot about Harmon’s approach to life: dignity, compassion, modesty, work ethic, team. He will be sorely missed.

  4. Tony Rozycki says:

    per wikipedia – “Asked once what he liked to do for fun, Killebrew replied ‘Well, I like to wash dishes, I guess.’ “

    1. Tony Rozycki says:

      Washing dishes is a bit like going to the casino & never losing. There’s almost always a different combination of dishes, silverware & other utensils.

  5. Dean Bruder; Germany. says:

    Harmon Killebrew; a real class act! I’m too young to remember watching any of the games that he played in, but remeber when the sports reports came on T.V. and WCCO, KSTP, WTCN or KMSP would say anything about the Twins, it was all Harmon Killebrew. But the best lesson that he taught all of us was when he appeared on an episode of “Step By Step” in the mid-’90’s playing himself and showing the young boy Brandon’s character that the players should not be asking the young fans to pay for an autograph; it should be their priviledge and honor to give that same autograh and talk to that young fan; or any fan; not matter what his or her age was! Remember; without the fans to buy the tickets and all of the other stuff that goes along today; no paycheck!

  6. Tim Niles says:

    Almost 50 years ago, June of 1961, I was lucky enough to sit right behind the Yankee dugout at the old Met and watch the Twins host the Yanks. At age eleven, knowledgeable about baseball for only a few years, still, seeing the Yankee greats only ten feet away was something. The Yankee pitcher was one of their best and looking back I can see that both he and Harmon were truly dueling. The pitcher was throwing his best, fastest stuff, and challenging Harmon… and finally, Harmon got all of a waist high inside fastball… the ball was a blut to my eyes until it got over the white fence separating the stadium from the parkign lot. A line shot, never more than 70 feet above the ground… just crushed! I was surprised recently to learn that Harmon was only 25 that day, but inone way ti showed: instead of a slow trot around th bases, he almost sprinted across home plate! I actually have a home movie showing him crossing the plate with that one. And, I di get to meet him at Midwest Federal in 1969, taking my 9 year old brother along… he’d forgotten to bring a ball to sign but was wearing a Twins cap, so that cap was signed… and I’ll never forget how Harmon responded to the sight of my borther… the joy within him was so obvious. A very good man, whatever his accomplishments.

  7. Nancy says:

    I’m not a big sports fan myself, But I remember with great fondness how my Father loved Harmon Killabrew…….I remember him watching the games on tv, the sounds, the great jumping to his feet when Harmon made a great play..I miss my Dad every day but cherish memories of his joy, and the happiness he had watching “the game” and especially Harmon Killbrew……xoxo Harmon!

  8. Judy Zielinski says:

    During Harmon’s time with the Minnesota Twins, I was lucky to grow up listening to them on the radio, watch them on television, and once in a while we were lucky enough to go to a game at Met Stadium. Harmon was then and still is my most favorite Minnesota Twin.

    A few years ago I was able to get his autograph. Standing in line, watching him take a real interest in all of us ‘fans’. When it was my turn I felt like a kid meeting a movie star. He treated me with so much kindness and genuinely listened to what I had to say. Harmon is a first-rate class act man.

    Thank you so much Harmon, for all you have given us! My prayers are with you and your family.

  9. StraycatStrut says:

    Harmon is a class act all the way around. great player, great person and always seemed to be on the right track approaching life and never letting his popularity go to his head. He will be missed for sure.

  10. bob iverson says:

    Thanks for airing Killerbrew Tribute. Maybe the GOP House & Senate should be forced to watch the entire tribute.