Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

My Harmon Tribute

Posted by verywellthen on May 17, 2011

It was either 1971 or 1972.    The local TV station* in Bismarck, North Dakota would show about a half dozen early season road games to whet the appetite of regional Twins fans for the upcoming season.   It was a Saturday afternoon.   In the kitchen, on the high counter ledge there was a small black-and-white TV with grainy reception.  On it was this stocky right handed hitter that my brother identified in that big-brother-as-teacher sort of way (as in, “you really ought to know who that guy is”), as Harmon Killebrew.

*It was probably KXMB, but if that guess is wrong, then it was KFYR.  Yes, kids, I spent the first fifteen years of my life with just two TV stations.

That is the first memory I have where I was aware of the Minnesota Twins.    I’ve dug around Baseball-reference trying to figure out what game that was — my best guess is April 10, 1971 @ the White Sox.    I know I was not aware of the Twins when they made the playoffs in 1970.  So, with my first memory being 1971 or later, The formative years of my Twins-fandom was all about longing.  There would be nothing as rewarding as a playoff game until 1987 — which made that 1987 October so grand.

Also, therefore, I never saw Harmon at his Killer-fiercest.    I’d kill for a 28 home run season from a 2011 Twin, but it was one-notch down from his almost-all-amazing previous dozen years.     Four years later on the same black-and-white TV, I’d watch Harmon in a Kansas City Royals uniform making his incongruous final season.

But I revered him.  I protected his memory from friends or brothers who would soon be calling him Harmless Harmon.  By revering him for his greatness that came at a time before I remember, I had already hooked into baseball’s ability to form tradition.  What could tradition be to a six year old?  Yet, I already had my link to the Twins first decade.

And that first baseball image on a black-and-white TV projects forward to — it has led to 40 years without missing a box score.

Thank you for all that you linked me back to and all that you led me to, Harmon.

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