Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harmon Killebrew

Harmon Killebrew has died. Harmon was the Twins all-time career leader in home runs (475), RBI’s (1325), and OPS + (143). As a Twin Harmon amassed a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of 54.9 which is second best total in Twins history.

Some Twins fans will tell you Harmon is the face of the Twins franchise. Other Twins fans will tell you, as they did when he died, that Kirby Puckett is the face of the Twins franchise. While other Twins fans will tell you Joe Mauer is the true face of the Twins franchise. Oh, and don’t forget Rod Carew who advanced statistical measurements say was the greatest Minnesota Twin of all-time. I say why do we have to have only one face of the Twins franchise?

Most Twins fans will tell you Harmon was one of the nicest men they ever meet.

I have meet Harmon twice in person. To honest he basically ignored me the first time we meet, but he did hurriedly sign my baseball for me. The second time we meet he signed a baseball card for me then took the time to tell me about the pen he was using to sign the card with. He said he had specifically brought the pen with him to signed baseball cards.

I have been in four autograph lines where because Harmon talked too much to the people ahead of me I did not get through and get his autograph. I also sent a donation to his foundation in exchange for Harmon to sign a picture and baseball card for me. I asked him to sign in blue, he signed in black. I was told he would be put “HOF 84” on both items, and he only did so on the picture.

Of course Harmon was no different than any other person. He had his good days and his bad days. He had his reasons for basically ignoring me the first time we met just as he had his reason for being friendly to me the second time we met.

It was not his fault I cut off in his autograph lines. The Twins people who running those lines knew Harmon was the slowest autograph signer in all of baseball. They should have cut the line off after 100 people rather than let people sit there and fester then get angry when they did not get through the line.

Like what happen when Kirby Puckett died, people will spend too much time talking about how great a man Harmon was. In reality no one deserves all that praise. We all do good things, we all do bad things. We all at times are nice people, and we all have our moments of being not so nice people. No one is perfect.

I think Harmon would say of himself that he was a very good baseball player who tried to be as good a person as he could be. Sometimes he succeeded being that good person, sometimes did not succeed.

In the end that is all we could ask of him. Rest in peace Harmon, you did the best you could.