Tuesday, August 13, 2019

harmon killebrew is in my hall of famer collection

i don't know how, but early on in my baseball card collecting days i acquired a 1974 topps harmon killebrew card. the cartoon on the back of the card let me know that there were only four players in the history of the game that had hit more home runs (through 1973) than killebrew. i knew from having seen the 1973 topps babe ruth/hank aaron/willie mays card that they were the top 3, but i had to do a little bit of research on my end (bugging my dad with questions and looking at the backs of other baseball cards) to determine that number 4 was frank robinson (thankfully, i also had a 1974 card of frobby).

since then, seven players have passed killebrew on the all-time home run list, but his accomplishment is not diminished.  here's his card that sits in my hall of famer collection:
it comes from 2000 upper deck legends, and showcases killebrew's famous signature.  here's the back:
when i moved to minnesota, i found myself at the mall of america one day. i dutifully sought out the location of home plate from the old metropolitan stadium that had previously stood on that site and stepped in to what would have been the right-hand hitter's batter's box.  from there i looked around for the marker indicating the location of the 522' home run killebrew hit at the stadium sometime in the late 1960's. it was impressive!

i didn't really appreciate killebrew's career beyond the bottom line stats until i moved to minnesota and was exposed to more stories and anecdotes about him and his accomplishments.  i also discovered just how revered he was (and still is). he was present for many twins functions and was a genuinely nice man. i was able to chat with him a couple of times (once to the likely chagrin of the line of autograph seekers behind me), and am glad that i took the opportunity to do so.

that 1974 card i mentioned up top, i believe, is still in my collection to this day, although i upgraded to a better copy for my complete 1974 set.  looking at that card now, i can see how killebrew thought that he might have been the player behind the mlb logo.

here's my hall of famer collection as its been documented so far:

babe ruth - 2003 topps tribute world series edition world series tribute relic 351/425:

bob feller - 2001 topps archives

jackie robinson - 2004 topps clubhouse collection clubhouse relics

roberto clemente - 2005 donruss greats hall of fame souvenirs relic

warren spahn - 1999 upper deck century legends epic signatures

hank aaron - 2004 topps originals 1979 topps all-time record holders rbi 03/32:

harmon killebrew - 2000 upper deck legends legendary signatures

bruce sutter - 2003 topps all-time fan favorites

pete rose* - 2018 panini flawless legendary signatures 15/25
you can find the full list of hall of famers (and some not - yet) that i aim to include in this collection at my want list site.

*not currently a member of the hall of fame


  1. What really blew my mind about Harmon is that I always assumed that he was a big hulking dude like Frank Howard (or Frank Thomas to use a more recent example), but I later found out he was barely 6 feet tall. And that they probably rounded up to get that height in the media guide. He just seemed like a giant to Twins fans.

  2. I met Harmon at a function in Arizona in 2010 and had the exact same thought. He really was not that big in stature at all. He was a great guy.

  3. If I had known that Killebrew was once #5 on the all-time home run list, I probably would have collected his cards more as a kid. That is so cool.

    P.S. Killebrew has a great looking signature!