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Blatant Homerism

Welcome Sight: Despite Cancer, Harmon Killebrew Appears At Twins Spring Training

Allow me a bit of blatant homerism with this one. Despite currently undergoing weekly treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona for esophageal cancer, Minnesota Twins great and Hall of Famer Harmon “Killer” Killebrew (above, with Jim Thome, in a photo from 2010 spring training) has arrived at the Twins’ spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida. As always, Killebrew was upbeat, not only about finally making it to spring training (he appears annually as a special instructor for the Twins), but also regarding his battle against cancer.

Via the Pioneer Press:

“I’m actually feeling great. This has been kind of a long process, started in December and I’m still going through treatments, but I’m really feeling good and it’s great to be down here in spring training,” Killebrew said. “I’ve got a great team of doctors, and I couldn’t be happier right now with the way things have progressed.”

Killebrew is also especially thankful and humbled due to the tremendous outpouring of support he has received over the past several months:

“When you go through something like this, you’re not really sure what to expect, and I think that the thing that’s really been an impact on me has been how many people have reached out to me,” he said. “I want to thank all those people that sent cards and e-mails and all the well wishes and prayers have just been overwhelming and really, really been helpful. I know how much that helps, and it’s really helped me a lot.”

It goes without saying that “Killer” is a class act and the fact that he is still loved and revered by not only Twins fans, but Twins players as well, not to mention the entire MLB community, speaks volumes about the virtue and class of the great man, and to have been forced to watch cheats like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa (and in a way, Alex Rodriguez) pass him on the all-time home runs list over the past several years should make any baseball fan who respects the integrity and tradition of Major League Baseball want to spit.

But those are the kind of things a man with the dignity of Harmon Killebrew doesn’t choose to dwell over or even discuss. In fact, he would also rather not have people making a big deal about him making it to spring training:

And now Killebrew, who will be with the team in Fort Myers until Sunday, hopes the distraction of baseball will help a lot, too. He has been exchanging text messages with Gardenhire throughout training camp and, after sitting down with reporters, was eager to get out on the field with the Twins. After leaving the room where he did his interview, Killebrew saw Michael Cuddyer and eagerly asked, “So, what’s next?”

“To see the smiles on the faces of the guys when I shake hands with them and came into the clubhouse was a great feeling,” Killebrew said.

A great feeling, to be sure. And guess what? Knowing that he is back where he belongs, we all feel exactly the same way. 

Amid cancer treatment, Twins great Harmon Killebrew appears at spring training [Pioneer Press]