Baseball great Harmon Killebrew has gone down swinging in his battle against esophageal cancer. The pride of Payette, Idaho, 11-time MLB All-Star and 1969 American League MVP was 74 years old. The ambassador for the game of baseball games ended his days peacefully while sleeping in his Scottsdale, Ariz., home. He was accompanied in his last moments by wife Nita and their kids.

Killebrew brought to Hospice from Mayo Clinic

Various media sources published a statement from Killebrew on Monday that Mayo Clinic doctors could not halt the onslaught of the esophageal cancer because it had reached an advanced stage. Until Killebrew would die, he would be in Hospice care. This was also part of his announcement. The cancer was only declared six months before.

Information on 'The Killer' and the game

As Killebrew hit balls from the right hand side hand side of the plate and was 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, pitchers were always nervous. Bull-necked and burly with strong arms and vice-like hands, the prematurely balding Harmon "The Killer" Killebrew hit majestic blasts that left fans swinging for adjectives. His 573 home runs over a 22-year career (1954-1975) currently put him at No. 11 on the all-time list, and he led the American League 6 times in home runs (1 time as a Washington Senator and five times as a Minnesota Twin) and in RBI 3 times. The swing of Killebrew some believe is the silhouette on the MLB logo. This is only speculation.

"He hit line drives that put the opposition in jeopardy," former Washington Senators scout Ossie Bluege once said. "And I don't mean the infielders. I mean the outfielders."

Most enthusiasts liked the soft-spoken nature that Killebrew showed.

"No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins territory than Harmon Killebrew," Twins president Dave St. Peter said. "Killebrew'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."

Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said, "It's ironic that his nickname was 'Killer,' as he was one of the nicest, most nice individuals to ever walk the earth."

Articles cited

Associated Press

Baseball Reference

Boston Globe

Minneapolis Star-Tribune


'We're here to love and help one other,' said Killebrew