Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Harmon Killebrew Biography - From Idaho To Stardom, Pennant In 1965, Mvp Season, Chronology, Personal Struggles, Charity Endeavors

Harmon Killebrew - Personal Struggles, Charity Endeavors

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Killebrew struggled financially when a golf-course investment in the 1980s soured. According to The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California, Killebrew and former Idaho congressman Ralph Harding were among those defrauded in the "RM-Eighteen" golf course and condominium project near Rancho Mirage, California. News accounts portrayed Killebrew sympathetically. Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who had loaned Killebrew money, was said to have relaxed repayment terms.

Killebrew was hospitalized for thirteen weeks in the early 1990s and nearly died of complications from medicine administered to benefit knee pain. It "caused a lot of damage to my insides," he said years later. Over several years, Killebrew battled ulcers, a perforated stomach, a collapsed lung and "a tumor the size of a small football located behind his lung," according to the San Angelo Standard-Times. At one point his doctor sent him home, essentially to die in comfort, in the care of his wife, Nita, and a home-health nurse. "When I went back to see the doctor, he said, 'I didn't expect to see you in here,'" Killebrew said.

Following his near-death experience, Harmon Killebrew, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife, Nita, has since become a national spokesman for the VistaCare Hospice Foundation, which the Arizona Republic described as "sort of the adult version of the Make-a-Wish Foundation."

Said Killebrew during a Thanksgiving Day visit to a terminally ill patient in November, 2002: "If you haven't been touched by hospice care yet, you will be. Every family will be." He recalled an admonition from his mother, Katie: "We're here to help each other. What other reason could there be? So get with it, son."

Killebrew also visits his former Minnesota Twins team, helping during spring training, visiting their minor-league affiliates and making promotional appearances. He spoke to the Minnesota crowd on Opening Day in 2002 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. Killebrew Drive was named in his honor near the site of Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, now the Mall of America shopping and entertainment complex.

Touched by the leukemia death of teammate Danny Thompson at age 29 in 1976, Killebrew a year later helped found the Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament in Sun Valley, Idaho, to raise money for leukemia research. In 1996, he started the Harmon Killebrew Signature Classic Golf Tournament to benefit the American Red Cross and two years later established, with his wife, the Harmon Killebrew Foundation, a fund-raising charity.

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB E
KCR: Kansas City Royals; MIN: Minnesota Twins; WSH: Washington Senators.
1954 WSH .308 9 13 1 4 0 3 2 3 0 0
1955 WSH .200 38 80 12 16 4 7 9 31 0 5
1956 WSH .222 44 99 10 22 5 13 10 39 0 4
1957 WSH .290 9 31 4 9 2 5 2 8 0 1
1958 WSH .194 13 31 2 6 0 2 0 12 0 0
1959 WSH .242 153 546 98 132 42 105 90 116 3 30
1960 WSH .276 124 442 84 122 31 80 71 106 1 17
1961 MIN .288 150 541 94 156 46 122 107 109 1 23
1962 MIN .243 155 552 85 134 48 126 106 142 1 9
1963 MIN .258 142 515 88 133 45 96 72 105 0 3
1964 MIN .270 158 577 95 156 49 111 93 135 0 7
1965 MIN .269 113 401 78 108 25 75 72 69 0 12
1966 MIN .281 162 569 89 160 39 110 103 98 0 18
1967 MIN .269 163 547 105 147 44 113 131 111 1 12
1968 MIN .210 100 295 40 62 17 40 70 70 0 7
1969 MIN .276 162 555 106 153 49 140 145 84 8 22
1970 MIN .271 157 527 96 143 41 113 128 84 0 20
1971 MIN .254 47 500 61 127 28 119 114 96 3 13
1972 MIN .231 139 433 53 100 26 74 94 91 0 9
1973 MIN .242 69 248 29 60 5 32 41 59 0 1
1974 MIN .222 122 333 28 74 13 54 45 61 0 2
1975 KCR .199 106 312 25 62 14 44 54 70 1 0
TOTAL .256 2435 8147 1283 2086 573 1584 1559 1699 19 215
Harmon Killebrew - Career Statistics [next] [back] Harmon Killebrew - Chronology

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