Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1610, May 25th, 2011




Harmon Killebrew died last week. He was a great power hitter who hit the most home runs of any player in the 1960s. He also was compared to Babe Ruth for his home run power as well as some of his spectacular strikeouts. Unlike the bombastic Ruth, Killebrew went about his business quietly and was barely on the radar screen. However, like Ruth, he had a special place in his heart for kids as this story will indicate. He was a great player as well as one of the good guys of a now golden era of baseball.

This is the stuff that legends are made of.
Eight-year-old Jack Guiney, hospitalized in New York for weeks with burns over half of his body, greeted his hero as he strode into the room on May 20, 1964.
It was Harmon Killebrew. The Twins slugger was in town for a two-game series with the Yankees.
Killebrew gave an autographed baseball to Jack, who pulled a ball glove from under his pillow and said, "Would you autograph my glove, too?"
After a little baseball chatter -- "I'm a shortstop," the bandaged boy said -- Killebrew made a deal with the lad: "If you hurry up and get well, the next time I'm in town, I'll take you out to the ball park and you can meet all the fellows."
With the afternoon game near, Killebrew said it was time he headed head to the stadium.
"I'll watch you on television," the blue-eyed, freckle-faced youngster said from his Manhattan hospital bed.
"Maybe I'll hit you a couple," Killebrew responded.
Sure enough, he did just that, starting with a two-run home run in the first inning. The second homer came on his last at-bat, a solo shot in the eighth inning, capping off the Twins' 7-4 victory.
The New York Daily News and Jack's father arranged the visit for the boy, whose altar boy robes caught fire as he was lighting candles at his parish church in Brooklyn. The newspaper's bedside photo appeared in the Minneapolis Morning Tribune the next day and was sent across the nation on the UPI picture wire.
Jack soon left the hospital and indeed was Killebrew's guest in New York nearly four months later when the Twins played the Yankees on Sept. 12, 1964, posing together for news photographers along the rail before the game. Killebrew gave him one of his bats.
And this time, Jack saw for himself Killebrew's awesome power when the Twins star belted a two-run homer deep into the left-field stands in the first inning.
Guiney is now 55 years old and lives in Queens, not far from where he met his childhood idol. That hospital visit 47 years ago "lifted my spirits. I watched the whole game from my hospital bed. I was shocked" when Killebrew made good on his two-home run call.
"[Last week] I was listening to the radio and heard he was sick," Guiney said. "I said a little prayer when I heard that."
Guiney said he took the news of Killebrew's death Tuesday pretty hard and can attest to what "they said in the paper -- that he was a great ballplayer but a greater human being."
Star Tribune staff writer Pamela Huey contributed to this report.
Article by: Minnesota Star Tribune writer PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune


At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice story, Dave, about an overlooked great who was a "big man" long before steroids. What a great career? What a good guy?
Rest in Peace, Sir.

At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Junction said...

I knew you were busy last week with all the post election goings on. I knew sooner than later you would print your thoughts about the great HK. If I am not mistaken and my memory serves me correctly HK was one of your all time favorites from your childhood days back in the old Junction. Great story Dave and now you will always have great memories of this baseball legend.
May he rest in peace.

At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Yonk:
You sick? Your blog seems to be off schedule.

At 4:42 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Nope doing fine health wise. But American business happened to me. We are the only country in the world where business makes it difficult to spend our money. Due to usage and logevity, we had to get a new fridge, washer and dryer as well as a new bathroom appliance in the past year. We had difficulty with the fridge delivery, what should have taken one day strectched out into a week. The washer and dryer came on time but the hoses were connected the wrong way. This week we had a problem with the bathroom appliance because the American business installed it on the wroing floor. We have spent over 7 grand on items and every single thing we bought was screwed up or mishandled by someone. So the reason why we are "off" is because my time is being stolen by "American business". There must be a God because only he or she would only bless America and its business in its sorry state.

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it sounds more like the american nepa heyna worker is your problem


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