I couldn't believe what I was seeing. All the home runs, all the R.B.I.'s from a player I never knew about. To count out EIGHT 40+ home run seasons blew me away.
This was right before I got my first Macmillan Encyclopedia, so baseball cards really were the only place back then to see stats of players who were around before you were a fan. I just kept rereading those power stats again and again, amazed every time as if I was seeing them for the first time.
Throw in the fact that the 1973 card of Killebrew is pretty damn cool, I was hooked on "Killer" ever since.
Over the years I was able to meet him on more than one occasion and just listen to him tell some stories, not just about baseball but some golf thrown in for good measure. He was an amazing person who was friendly, patient and always seemed to have a smile on his face.
Playing for Washington, Minnesota and a final season in Kansas City between 1954 and 1975, Killebrew mashed 573 home runs to go along with 1584 R.B.I.'s, winning an M.V.P. award along the way in 1969 while finishing in the top five in voting five other seasons.
In 1984 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame, capping off a stellar career that sometimes gets lost among the Mantles, Mays, Clementes and Aarons that were garnering all the attention in the same era.
But nevertheless, here is my design for what should have been a final card for the Hall of Famer, a 1976 edition showing him on his last team, the Royals, in one of my all time favorite baseball card sets.
|"Killer" calling it a career.|