Reaction to Harmon Killebrew's death
Reaction to Tuesday's death of Minnesota Twins slugger and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew:
• "It is with profound sadness that we share with you that our beloved Harmon passed away this morning. He died peacefully surrounded by Nita and our family. He will be missed more than anyone can imagine but we take solace in the fact that he will no longer suffer. We thank you for your outpouring of support and prayers and take comfort in the fact that he was loved by so many." -- Killebrew's family.
• "When I learned the news about Harmon today, I felt like I lost a family member. He has treated me like one of his own. It's hard to put into words what Harmon has meant to me. He first welcomed me into the Twins family as an 18-year-old kid and has continued to influence my life in many ways. He is someone I will never forget and will always treasure the time we spent together. Harmon will be missed but never forgotten." -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer.
• "When I was a kid, I mean, you loved the name and the player and the excitement he brought when he went to the plate, and how far he could hit the ball. As I got into professional ball, and as I got a chance to meet him -- I didn't know him well but in talking to other people -- what a nice man he was. He was a real classy man who loved baseball and got back involved in it with the Twins. They loved having Harmon there. It's a moving story about him going into hospice, kind of saying it's my time. He accepted his fate and he did it with such class." -- San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
• "I am truly saddened by the loss of Harmon Killebrew, one of the great human beings I have ever known. All of Baseball has lost a true gentleman who represented the Minnesota Twins with class and grace for decades. Harmon was as tough and feared a competitor on the field as the game has ever seen, while off the field he touched everyone he encountered with his sensitive and humble nature. ... He led his life with modesty and dignity and I will miss him forever." -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
• "This is a sad day for all of baseball and even harder for those of us who were fortunate enough to be a friend of Harmon's. Harmon Killebrew was a gem. I can never thank him enough for all I learned from him. He was a consummate professional who treated everyone from the brashest of rookies to the groundskeepers to the ushers in the stadium with the utmost of respect. I would not be the person I am today if it weren't for Harmon Killebrew. He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word." -- former Twins star and Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
• "He was just a fierce competitor and a perfect gentleman at the same time. You don't see that a lot. Sometimes you get fierce competitors who are bad people. You see guys that are not fierce competitors but nice guys. You don't see the two of them together very much." -- Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett.
• "No individual has ever meant more to the Minnesota Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory than Harmon Killebrew. Harmon will long be remembered as one of the most prolific home run hitters in the history of the game and the leader of a group of players who helped lay the foundation for the long-term success of the Twins franchise and Major League Baseball in the Upper Midwest. However, more importantly Harmon's legacy will be the class, dignity and humility he demonstrated each and every day as a Hall of Fame-quality husband, father, friend, teammate and man. The Twins extend heartfelt sympathies and prayers to the Killebrew family at this difficult time." -- Twins president Dave St. Peter.
• "Harmon Killebrew personified Hall of Fame excellence in every aspect of his dynamic life. He will forever be remembered for his 573 career home runs and as the 1969 American League Most Valuable Player, and as one of the greatest hitters of his era. Since joining the Hall of Fame family in 1984, Harmon was a beacon of light among his fellow Hall of Famers, always smiling, always enjoying every moment that life delivered at his doorstep. We have so many fond memories of this wonderful baseball hero, and we will miss him enormously." -- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum chairwoman Jane Forbes Clark.
• "Harmon was a Hall of Famer on and off the field. He was baseball's version of Paul Bunyan, with his prodigious home run power, leading by example in the clubhouse and on the field. Off the field, he emanated class, dignity, and warmth, and he was a great humanitarian. He was so down-to-earth, you would never realize he was a baseball legend. It's ironic that his nickname was "Killer," as he was one of the nicest, most generous individuals to ever walk the earth." -- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president Jeff Idelson.
• "He was a great player, but he was an even greater man." -- Minnesota State Rep. Bob Barrett, R-Shafer, recalling how his father once did contracting work at Killebrew's home and "couldn't remember having met a nicer man."
• "When I would go to Twins games at the old Met stadium with my dad, I was just one of thousands of kids who were there with their families hoping for a homer from Harmon. It was always a thrill to see Harmon swing the bat and slam the ball over the fence and into the stands. He gave us pride in the Twins as well as the sport of baseball. We will cherish his memory." -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota.
• "He never showed you up, no flaps down or anything, just that little number 3 -- like Babe Ruth -- trotting like he hit 'em before and he would hit 'em again." -- Former pitcher Tommy John, who allowed five home runs against Killebrew.
• "We all loved Harmon so much. Harmon was a great man, on and off the field. He was a bigger Hall of Famer off the field. Everyone that Harmon ever came in contact with has a story about what a class man he was." -- Hall of Fame electee Bert Blyleven.
• "He was a great person. Tremendous. He'd do anything for you. I never ever heard him say anything bad about anybody. Never. In all the years I'd been around him." -- Former teammate and current Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
• "As a young player, he helped me a lot just in conversations on the bench talking about the game. That was a time when a lot of veterans wouldn't talk to young guys. But you could ask him about hitting. You could ask him about being a professional, things like that. He was an MVP, a guy who went to what, 13 All-Star games? But he never acted like he was better than you were. It was a tremendous honor to just sit on the bench and talk to him every day." -- Former Kansas City Royals teammate Frank White.
• "There wasn't a patsy in him, believe me. If he got angry, he got angry inside himself and you could see what it was because he got quiet. He just was determined, whether he struck out, whether he made an error, maybe something was going wrong as far as the ballclub went, that kind of stuff, you could see him gritting his teeth. ... I loved how we hated the Yankees, and he did, too. He didn't hate the men. He just hated getting beat by 'em." -- Former teammate and Twins manager Frank Quilici.
• "It's going to be a loss for the Twins and the state of Minnesota. He was a great person and a great ambassador for baseball." -- Twins fan Bob Wolf.
• "We've lost a great man. We certainly lost an ambassador to baseball, certainly in the Minnesota area. I'm really lost for words because Harmon was a great man. He certainly always tried to help people once he finished playing the game." -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington.
• "To remember the innocence of being a young kid who just looked up to a guy he didn't know because of what he did as a baseball player, something that you hoped that maybe someday you could be like. But as a grown man, I look back at him now not as that guy, but as the guy who tried to show me that you don't have to be angry. You don't have to be mad. You can love and share love. We're all going to miss him, and we're all going to love him forever." -- Former star Twins pitcher Jack Morris.
• "I'm 32 years old. I never got to see him play. The majority of the people now never did get to see him as a baseball player. But the reason he has made such an impact on the world is because of who he was outside of baseball, the 30-plus years after he retired from baseball. He continued to be an ambassador not just of baseball but of life in general. It's why all the kind words that people are saying about him now is because of the person he was, not the baseball player." -- Twins infielder-oufielder Michael Cuddyer.
• "You shake his hand, still at 70-some years old, and he'd crush your hand. You can see where he got that power." -- Twins slugger Justin Morneau.
• "A lot of guys out there [in clubhouse] are really sad. We're all honored that at least we had the chance to hang out with him a little and get to know him. He touched a lot of lives out there, not just on the baseball field, but the way you should handle yourself and a little bit about respect." -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Information from ESPN's Willie Weinbaum and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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