Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew loses cancer battle

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By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor

Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew lost an ongoing battle with esophageal cancer on Tuesday. He was 74.

Killebrew played 22 seasons in the big leagues — 21 of those for the Washington Senators and Minnesota Twins before he played a single season for the Kansas City Royals in 1975. He was known for his tape-measure home runs — earning him the nickname “Killer” — and he hit 573 round-trippers in his career, which placed him fifth on the career list at the end of his career.

Today, Killebrew still ranks 11th.

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984, Killebrew was a 13-time All-Star and the 1969 American League MVP after he hit a career-high 49 home runs and drove in 140 for the Twins. He appeared in just one World Series in 1965 when his Twins lost to the Dodgers.

Killebrew hit 40 or more home runs eight times in his career, a total second only to Babe Ruth, and it’s Killebrew’s stance that is said to have inspired the silhouetted batter on the MLB logo.

On cardboard, Killebrew appeared on 2,853 different cards during his lifetime, including 813 different certified autograph cards. He appears on 1,213 different memorabilia cards made through the years but has just one Rookie Card, which is in the 1955 Topps set. It typically can be found for $250 or less.

His most recent autograph cards signed in larger quantities can be found in the 2010 Panini Century Collection product, which included many Hall of Famers and retired baseball stars alongside astronauts and other celebrities.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


  1. chrisolds
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The original Washington franchise that moved to Minnesota and became the Twins is historically called the Senators. However, during its time both the names — Senators and Nationals — were used. Most say Senators.

    To confuse things, today’s Nationals do NOT have any ties to the old franchise. The old Senators/Nationals records went with the franchise to Minnesota, while today’s Nationals record book includes the lineage of the Montreal Expos.

  2. Posted May 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    what a great home run hitter,573 home runs 11th on the all time home run parade. he took no roids what so ever. on august 10 1971 he hit his 500 and 501 home run in the same game. may you rest in peace and lets play home run derby.

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