MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Reaction to the death Tuesday of Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew:

“When I learned the news about Harmon today, I felt like I lost a family member. He has treated me like one of his own. It’s hard to put into words what Harmon has meant to me. He first welcomed me into the Twins family as an 18-year-old kid and has continued to influence my life in many ways. He is someone I will never forget and will always treasure the time we spent together. Harmon will be missed but never forgotten.”

— Joe Mauer, Twins Catcher

“This is a sad day for all of baseball and even harder for those of us who were fortunate enough to be a friend of Harmon’s. Harmon Killebrew was a gem. I can never thank him enough for all I learned from him. He was a consummate professional who treated everyone from the brashest of rookies to the groundskeepers to the ushers in the stadium with the utmost of respect. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Harmon Killebrew. He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.”

— Rod Carew, Former Twins Infielder and Hall of Famer

“No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon’s legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time.”

— Dave St. Peter, Twins President

“Harmon Killebrew personified Hall of Fame excellence in every aspect of his dynamic life. He will forever be remembered for his 573 career home runs and as the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player, and as one of the greatest hitters of his era. Since joining the Hall of Fame family in 1984, Harmon was a beacon of light among his fellow Hall of Famers, always smiling, always enjoying every moment that life delivered at his doorstep. We have so many fond memories of this wonderful baseball hero, and we will miss him enormously.”

— Jane Forbes Clark, chairman, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

“Harmon was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. He was baseball’s version of Paul Bunyan, with his prodigious home run power, leading by example in the clubhouse and on the field. Off the field, he emanated class, dignity, and warmth, and he was a great humanitarian. He was so down-to-earth, you would never realize he was a baseball legend. It’s ironic that his nickname was “Killer,” as he was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth.”

— Jeff Idelson, president, Hall of Fame

“Harmon Killebrew was a hero to all Minnesota Twins fans. He always comported himself with dignity. He was a great baseball player and a civic-minded man who lived an exemplary life. He will be missed.”

— Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

“What I think people will hopefully remember Harmon of a guy who gave so much back to the game of baseball. He loved the game, he gave so much to the community. Just a class man.”

— Bert Byleven, Former Minnesota Twins Pitcher and future Hall of Famer

“He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever met, most classiest and well respected men that I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a friend.”

— Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota Twins Utility Player

“There’s also joy in that we have memories and the smiles that we all shared when we think about Harmon. And in death you think about life and in our life, if you’re mindful of Harmon, your life will be enriched.”

— Paul Molitor, Former Twins Infielder and Hall of Famer

“The one thing that hits home the most with Harmon is his strength, not as a player but as a person. And his kindness and the strength in his kindness, to me he was a really man, all man.”

— Jack Morris, Former Twins Pitcher

Jack Morris Talks About Killebrew
Audio: https://cbsminnesota.wordpress.com/wp-admin/media.php?attachment_id=99988&action=edit

“I think Harmon has become something of a Paul Bunyan in the state of Minnesota and I just spent the last week up in the Brainerd area where Paul Bunyan was always an icon and found out the news about Harmon and it’s kind of ironic that these two go together, I think, in my life because Harmon was to me Paul Bunyan with a uniform on.”

— Kent Hrbek, Former Twins First Baseman

“He couldn’t say no to anybody and for a guy to be that way, there was no phony in him. He was genuine right to the core.”

— Frank Quilici, Former Minnesota Twins

“He was just a fierce competitor and a perfect gentleman at the same time. You don’t see that a lot. Sometimes you get fierce competitors who are bad people. You see guys that are not fierce competitors but nice guys. You don’t see the two of them together very much.”

— George Brett, Hall of Fame Baseball Player

“I am truly saddened by the loss of Harmon Killebrew, one of the great human beings I have ever known. All of Baseball has lost a true gentleman who represented the Minnesota Twins with class and grace for decades. Harmon was as tough and feared a competitor on the field as the game has ever seen, while off the field he touched everyone he encountered with his sensitive and humble nature. …He led his life with modesty and dignity and I will miss him forever.”

— Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig

“When I was a kid, I mean, you loved the name and the player and the excitement he brought when he went to the plate, and how far he could hit the ball. As I got into professional ball, and as I got a chance to meet him — I didn’t know him well but in talking to other people — what a nice man he was. He was a real classy man who loved baseball and got back involved in it with the Twins. They loved having Harmon there. It’s a moving story about him going into hospice, kind of saying it’s my time. He accepted his fate and he did it with such class.”

— San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Terry Johannes says:

    I believe Ray Scott was calling the game. Harmon was batting in bottom of the 9th with 2 out and a count of 3 ball and 2 strikes. He hit the next pitch for a homer and the game winner. Halsey Hall went crazy as did I. Just a great human being!I He gave me so many thrilling moments.

  2. Bill says:

    Thank you Harmon. You were and, for me, will always be what sports should be. Whatever the sport, it’s only a game. Because of you I realize that. Sports are fun. Life is real.

  3. miss pamela says:

    I remeber listening to the Twins in the barn helping w/ chores and in the house. It was a big part of my growing years and especialy hearing the name “Harmon Kilabrew” It’s something that will also be imprinted in my mind even as a middle aged person.

  4. Rhys Becker says:

    Harmon will be missed he was one of my favorite twins when I was growing up and going to the old Met Stadium and watching Harmon taking batting practice and launching the baseball into the seats. Harmon was a class act on and off the field rest in peace Harmon and God bless his family.

  5. Rick says:

    One of the true gentlemen of the sporting world. Harmon was my hero growing up, a HERO in the true meaning of the word. May you rest in peace, and thank you for all the memories, and condolences to your family.

  6. davidhumphrey says:

    i got to see you in 1969 as a kid at the grand opening of the fifth northwestern bank on lake st in minneapolis ,mn and you were singing photos of you and when it was my turn you greeted me and aked who to make it out to then you signed it it was a great time in my life to have a person like harmon doing that for not just you but all that were there that day dave humphrey

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