Idaho Celebrities PT 2: Hammerin’ Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Clayton Killebrew was born in 1936 and grew up in Payette, Idaho, where he grew strong working as a farmhand, and was a high school athletics legend, earning twelve letters.
Instead of attending college, Killebrew was lucky enough to have the opportunity to show his abilities to an athletic scout for a team called the Washington Senators. The Boston Red Sox wanted to snatch him up, but Washington got him first, with a contract worth nearly $500,000 in today’s dollars.
Killebrew, a.k.a. ‘The Killer,’ played for the Minnesota Twins for the majority of his career, including for the 1965 World Series, which they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Before his retirement in 1976, he played for the Kansas City Royals for a year.
The only player to beat Killebrew’s stats in baseball’s American League was the legendary Babe Ruth. Out of 2,435 games, Hammerin’ Harmon got 1,283 hits and 1,584 runs batted in, making him the American League’s number one right-handed hitter.
There was once a rumor that Major League Baseball’s red, white, and blue logo of a batter was modeled after Killebrew, but this fun idea was put to rest by the logo’s creator.
Killebrew was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Ron Luciano, a famous umpire, sports commentator, and author, said of Killebrew, “The Killer was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball history, but he was also one of the nicest people to ever play the game,” and Reggie Jackson said of him “If Harmon Killebrew isn’t the league’s best player, I’ve never seen one.”
Next time you GO! enjoy a baseball game, remember Harmon Killebrew, and how an Idahoan made baseball history.