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Remembering Leo Cardenas, The Superstitious One

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Sweet Swingers: Harmon Killebrew GIF

Sweet swings from The Killer: Harmon Killebrew    
               



A few general impressions...

This was Killebrew yet in his prime.
The top frame is attractive for the imagined mayhem. You never see ball meet bat, nor the trajectory of the pitch, or whom Harmon is batting against. But you can well infer it's bad medicine for whomever's chuckin. Just another sunny day for the fans at Metropolitan Stadium, with The Killer providing the thrills. 

These give just a quick take on the violence of the basic, Killebrew homerun cut. As if he was hacking down a maple. I recall Bloomingtonite Kent Hrbek sitting at a panel of others (Jack Morris, Paul Molitor, Jim Grant) three years ago when Killebrew passed away, and saying that Harmon was like the mythical Paul Bunyan for him as a kid.

Appropriate he would choose an icon central in Minnesota lumbering history in describing the area's favorite "ax-man" of the diamond. For a really great view of that swing, you should pick up the great Red Sox commemorative 1967 DVD, which features the oldest known preserved, full-length, color MLB game on record. Harmon homers for number 44 of the season in game 161(box), and it is the true, typical vicious swing for which he was known.

The second frame gives a bit more context of  "The Fat Kid," at work (see book excerpt below) as Jim Bouton referred to him. In fact, when I first saw the pitcher in the road blue, yellow piping, I immediately thought "Oh...Seattle Pilots, 1969!," but then noticed Harmon's jersey didn't have the MLB 1969 Centennial logo on his right arm sleeve (see photo ABOVE, BELOW), which would date the image from the 1970/71 seasons - which means the opponent was not the Pilots, but their children, the newly transplanted Milwaukee Brewers.


I had said this was Harmon in his prime. A Few stats from BBRef: keep in mind, ye not impressed -  this period was still part and parcel of the pitching rich late-60's. A special player! As a public service OPS & OPS+ are linked to a definition for old dudes like me who've time-traveled in from the '60s, other times unknown, and were fed mostly RBI, jacks, doubles and triples on the backs of their Topps baseball cards :

Year
G ▴ PA AB R HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
1970
157
665
527
96
41
113
128
84
.271
.411
.546
.957
159
288
1969
162
709
555
106
49
140
145
84
.276
.427
.584
1.011
177
324
Generated 11/5/2013.   BOLD TYPE = LEAGUE LEADING TOTALS

Killerologists will recall he finished third in the MVP voting in 1970, and took home the heavy hardware in 1969, the only such time he was honored. It will be worth my while to post some more gifs of this subject. Yes, there are a few in the pipeline, and the world awaits.

It's the least I can do for the player who taught me it was okay to eat Old Dutch chips in the dugout during a game.

To sign off in typical Herb Carneal Fashion:
"So long everybody!"

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