Harmon Killebrew was a quiet, beloved legend of baseball, and it was almost impossible to find someone who would speak ill about him while he was alive. So you'd better believe that there will be nice things said about him after he passed away. Here's a roundup of some of the earliest tributes:
Jim Caple of ESPN.com took the time to talk to Twins legends like Paul Molitor and Bert Blyleven about Killebrew:
Take the Killebrew Drive exit to the Mall of America, built on the original site of old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. Park your car, enter the mall, go inside to the amusement park at the center, look up three stories to the southeast wall and you'll see the seat attached above the Paul Bunyan Log Chute ride. It's an appropriate spot. Harmon Killebrew, Paul Bunyan … both strong men who produced prodigious feats while swinging a hunk of wood.
Bob Nightengale of the USA Today recounts a time when he sat with Killebrew on an airplane and talked about the steroid era. He also included a touching quote from current Twins player Michael Cuddyer:
"I didn't know him as a baseball player," Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer said, "but I've known him as a human being, and he's as genuine as anyone I've ever met. "He's probably the top three people I've ever met in my life. Definitely three most influential, next to my parents. … "
"My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard," he'd say. "Mother would come out and say, 'You're tearing up the grass.' 'We're not raising grass,' Dad would reply. 'We're raising boys.'"
And Reuters collects reactions from individuals around the baseball world, including Rod Carew and Bud Selig.
Perhaps the most touching tribute, though, doesn't have to do with the written word. Underneath home plate at Target Field tonight, there will be a simple way to get Harmon Killebrew on the field one last time: a picture of Killer doing what he did best