Harmon heads to home plate one last time

FILE - This May 22, 1962, file photo shows Minnesota Twins' outfielder Harmon Killebrew hitting a double in the third inning against the Washington Senators, in Washington. Killebrew announced Friday, May 13, 2011, that he no longer plans to fight his esophageal cancer and has settled in for the final days of his life, saddening friends and fans of the 74-year-old Hall of Fame slugger. (AP Photo/Bob Schutz, File)

He hasn’t homered for the Twins since 1974, but he’s still their MVP to a lot of fans.

Harmon Killebrew announced Friday that he will enter hospice care and is ending his battle against esophageal cancer. Killebrew, 74, said he has “exhausted all options” and knows he is at the end of his life.

I grew up surrounded by Twins fans in the 1960s and 1970s and admired The Killer. He was a tremendous power hitter with a gentle soul. The man who hit more home runs than any other player in the 1960s — more than Mantle, Mays, Aaron and other superstars — was a quiet, decent man who said he enjoyed washing dishes.

Teammates and opponents raved equally about his ability and his decency. I share that view after interviewing him a few years ago in Mankato, Minn. Harmon was and is the greatest Twin. He was great to all fans that cold winter night on the Twins Caravan and watching him interact with people was a privilege.

The baseball world wishes him, his family and friends peace in these final innings. Harmon may be headed to his final home plate, but we will always recall the joy he caused during his sojourn around the bases.

Here’s a story on the sad news:  http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/52619/group/homepage/

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