During his career Harmon Killebrew had a couple of nicknames. He was known as Hammerin’ Harmon, but that was just one nickname and one shared by other baseball players in baseball history. The one that seemed to stick the best was “Killer.” He was a man who played first base, third base and left field, during his entire 22-year career. In that time, the numbers he racked up were, to use an understatement, impressive. However, it was what he did after he retired that really showed the man was no “killer”, but, in fact, a man with a big heart dedicated to helping children around the world.
Killebrew got his major league start with the Washington Senators. He started out in 1954 under a rule known as the Major League Bonus Rule. During his first season as a player he had a very rough start, but that changed when the next season came. He would eventually move with the team to Minnesota and spend the rest of his time playing for the Twins. He would also rack up impressive numbers, including passing the 500 home run mark and becoming one of the most feared sluggers in all of baseball.
Harmon Killebrew missed three times for the Hall of Fame before finally earning enough votes to get a slot. That was in 1984. He became a broadcaster for the Twins, the Oakland As and the Angels. He died of cancer in May of 2011.
However, when Harmon retired, he made it a point to give back to the game he loved and to enrich the lives of children around the world through their participation in sports and, in particular, baseball. Killebrew felt that baseball had helped guide his life and was responsible for giving him the blessings and benefits he had received and felt that others around the world could benefit from that, as well.
In 1998 Harmon Killebrew and his wife formed The Harmon Killebrew Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping improve the quality of life for children around the world via participation in sports, with baseball being the primary focus. The organization has a goal of teaching children to be healthy by playing sports, but also to educate themselves as well as learning sportsmanship, community service and self-sufficiency.
The money that the charity raises is spread around to a number of organizations. For example, large donations have been made to the Gillette Children’s Speciality Hospital and the VistaCare Hospice Foundation. The foundation has contributed and raised funds for the Gillette Childrens’ Miracle Network. Harmon was also a big advocate and charity fundraiser for the Minnesota Twins Community Fund which is a fund created by the baseball organization to contribute back to the communities in and around Minnesota.
One of the biggest charities that was near and dear to Harmon’s heart was the Miracle League. The Miracle league is an international charity dedicated to the idea that every child deserves the chance to play baseball. The organization works around the world to help children get healthy and physically fit to play baseball and to help them organize baseball leagues and learn via playing an organized sport such as baseball.
The foundation still raises money for many charities to help children around the world and raise money to help those affected by disasters, such as the earthquake in Haiti. So, while Harmon Killebrew may have been a “killer” for opposing pitchers, he is a hero to children around the world.