Harmon Killebrew Was Gentlest of Sluggers

From SABR member Rob Neyer at SB Nation on May 17:

By the time Harmon Killebrew retired after the 1975 season, he’d hit 573 home runs.

That might not seem like a huge number now; at the time, only four men in major-league history had hit more.

Late in Killebrew’s career, pitcher Tommy John said, “I still think Killebrew is the single most dangerous hitter in the league. He’s got the perfect batting stance. You look down at him and there’s no place to throw the ball.”

In 1962, Killebrew became the first player to hit a ball over the left-field roof at Tiger Stadium; only three others would accomplish the feat before Tiger Stadium closed 37 years later.

In 1964, Killebrew hit the longest-ever measured home run at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium.

In 1967, Killebrew hit the longest-ever measured home run at Minnesota’s Metropolitan Stadium (today the landing spot, 520 feet from home plate, is commemorated by a stadium seat inside the Mall of America).

Harmon Killebrew came by his power honestly, though it took some time for him to show it in the majors.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/5/17/2175531/harmon-killebrew-dead

Originally published: May 17, 2011. Last Updated: May 17, 2011.