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Published On: May 17th, 2011

The Mankato MoonDogs would like to pass their condolences on to the entire Killebrew family with the passing of Hall of Famer and Minnesota Twins icon Harmon Killebrew after his battle with esophageal cancer.

In his 22-seasons, Harmon played 2435 games, racked up 2086 hits, and drove in 1584 RBIs. Harmon’s 573 career home runs places him at #11 on the all-time home run list. "The Killer” was a 13-time all-star and lead the Twins to a World Series in 1965.

But for all of his accomplishments on the field, it was often Harmon’s off the field acts that drew fans to love him. Staying around after games to ensure no fan seeking an autograph went home empty-handed was common place. Gentleman, class-act, consummate professional, are all adjectives Harmon’s peers used to describe him.

Often regarded as an ambassador to the game of baseball, Harmon started the Harmon Killebrew Foundation to help promote the game of baseball. Benefactors of Harmon’s charity include the Twins Community Fund, which helps promote the sport of baseball in Minnesota, and the National Miracle League which helps ensure that physically handicapped individuals can still enjoy the sport of baseball.

As we enter the 10th season of Mankato MoonDogs Baseball, we are proud to look back and say Harmon was there at the very beginning as our first opening day guest.

MoonDogs owner Joe Schwei shared his thoughts on the loss of a legend.

"There was only one name we had in mind to have throw out the first pitch at the first ever MoonDogs game and that was Harmon Killebrew. As everyone who had the pleasure of meeting Harmon knows, he was the most kind and gentle man you could meet. I remember that first game. It was 75 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect night for baseball. The MoonDogs had their first sellout. Harmon had been signing autographs for about 45 minutes, which is all he was obligated to do. I went over to him to take him back to his hotel. I asked him if he was ready to leave, even though we still had a line that looked like it was a couple of hundred feet long. Harmon said to me, ‘We don’t have to be the bad guys here, I’ll stay here and sign.’ Two and a half hours later he finished. He signed an autograph for every single fan in the building. That was the kind of guy he was. Every time I saw Harmon after that day, I thanked him for what he did that night and credited him with getting the MoonDogs started on the right foot. He will be sorely missed."

The MoonDogs home opener featuring special guest and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 at 7:05 p.m. against the Rochester Honkers. Season and single game tickets are on sale now at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street. For more information visit our website at or call the MoonDogs office at 507-625-7047