Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

Archive for May 17th, 2011

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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