Tributes to late Harmon Killebrew all around Target Field
MINNEAPOLIS All around Target Field are reminders of Harmon Killebrew. Out on Target Plaza, fans have left flowers, cards and balloons at the foot of Killebrew's statue. In right-center field, imprinted across the wall, is Killebrew's elegant sig...
All around Target Field are reminders of Harmon Killebrew.
Out on Target Plaza, fans have left flowers, cards and balloons at the foot of Killebrew's statue.
In right-center field, imprinted across the wall, is Killebrew's elegant signature. Hanging high in foul territory down the left-field line, a black band is wrapped around Killebrew's retired number 3.
Behind second base, a large number 3 is etched into the infield dirt. In the dugout hangs a replica of Killebrew's jersey, in the concourses are pictures and quotes and mementos.
Even in places unseen, Killebrew is remembered. Under home plate lies a photo of the Twins great in his playing days, a picture showing the colossal forearms, the thick, farm-boy strength.
Killebrew died last Tuesday at age 74 of esophageal cancer, and this ballclub can't seem to honor him enough, can't seem to give back all the love he gave, repay all the kindness he paid.
The Twins will memorialize Killebrew again Thursday, in a service at Target Field that is open to the public. Speakers will include baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, former Twins Rod Carew, Paul Molitor, Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva and current Twins Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. But on Monday, the Twins' first home game since Killebrew died, something had to be said.
And so minutes before the Twins took the field to play the Mariners, they first filed out of the dugout and headed toward second base. Joe Nathan carried the No. 3 jersey displayed in the team's
dugout, hanging it on a microphone stand. The players circled around the No. 3 stamped into the ground, and manager Ron Gardenhire spoke briefly of the organization's loss of a tremendous friend, a great baseball player, and an even better man.
"We come out here today to honor Harmon and his memory, all the things he taught us," Gardenhire said. "He touched a lot of lives here. I think you see the number here etched in the ground. The most important part is his memory is etched in our hearts and our minds."
Before Gardenhire spoke the video board in left center field played a tribute to the Twins' first hall of famer. It showed the player dubbed "Killer" smashing home runs in a Senators jersey and in a Twins uniform. It showed a young Killebrew signing autographs for fans and, decades later, the same man still signing his name for admirers young and old at spring training in Fort Myers, Fla.
As it began, the fans stood to cheer. They rose once more as Gardenhire finished offering his few words, when the manager lifted Killebrew's jersey from the microphone stand, held it high and turned to all sides of the ballpark.
"He had time for the clubhouse kid, to the number one star on your baseball team," Gardenhire said. "That was Harmon Killebrew."
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.