Tuesday, May 17, 2011
RIP KILLER by ST
We all have our favorite players. Might be someone who jumped onto the scene when you were in your 20's or from your boyhood. I have a special place for those guys who were stars the 1st days I recall following these game we love so much. Harmon Killebrew was front and center. I really began my baseball fanaticism in 1968. I have recollections of the 67 series between the Red Sox and Cardinals, but by the time the Cards & Tigers squared off in the 68 Fall Classic I was hooked. Even remember Hey Jude by the Beatles all over the station that carried the series, WABC 770 radio in New York. At the time, Killer was the best power hitter in the American League. In whiffle ball our impersonation of him was to try to demolish the ball with the hardest swing possible. I don't recall a negative word about this guy from his playing days through his retirement. Never played on a series winner but did get to the Fall Classic with Minny in 1965 losing in 7 games. His Twins lost the 1st two ALCS in 69 & 1970 to the Orioles, getting swept both times. He hit a bomb in games 1 & 2 of the 70 set but the Twinks were just overmatched. If I had to make up a team of studs from my 1st year on the baseball bandwagon, he'd be the 1st baseman. I'd have Rod Carew at 2nd, Louis Aparicio at short, Brooks at 3rd with Johnny Bench behind the plate. The outfield is nuts. I'd have to pick among Mays, Frank Robinson, Aaron, Rose, Clemente, Yaz, Lou Brock and Billy Williams. Heck, even Roger Maris was still playing right at a high level for the NL champion Cardinals. My pitchers would be Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Fergie Jenkins, Juan Marichal and my 5th would come down to Luis Tiant, Don Drysdale, Gaylord Perry, or Dave McNally. This trip down memory lane is my tribute to Harmon Killebrew.