Friday, May 13, 2011

Harmon Killebrew Enters Hospice

Today, the Minnesota Twins, Harmon Killebrew, and his family announced the the hall of fame slugger would be entering hospice care. This after learning that his treatments for esophageal cancer had not gone the way he, and everyone in Twins Territory, had hoped. He had appeared briefly at Spring Training in mid March, and was scheduled to attend the Twins' home opener, but was unable to due to his treatment schedule. You kinda had to get the feeling that when he missed that, things were not going well. Here was Harmon's statement from today:

"It is with profound sadness that I share with you that my continued battle with esophageal cancer is coming to an end. With the continued love and support of my wife, Nita, I have exhausted all options with respect to controlling this awful disease. My illness has progressed beyond my doctors' expectation of cure.

I have spent the past decade of my life promoting hospice care and educating people on its benefits. I am very comfortable taking this next step and experiencing the compassionate care that hospice provides.

I am comforted by the fact that I am surrounded by my family and friends. I thank you for the outpouring of concern, prayers and encouragement that you have shown me. I look forward to spending my final days in comfort and peace with Nita by my side."

This is a devastating blow to not only the Twins organization, but to baseball. Harmon carried a hall of fame career, and also carries a hall of fame personality. There was never a person he met that he did not genuinely care about. He always carried a positive outlook on life, including today when life dealt him a seemingly huge blow.

The sight to see with Harmon was in recent years when he would make his annual Spring Training visit. He would hang out on the field and the players would hang around him. He would give advice to those players, who were 40-50 years younger than him. And I'd be willing to bet, those players would tell you its the best advice they ever received.

I personally got to meet Harmon once at TwinsFest about 4 or 5 years ago in the photo line. I only got roughly 1 minute around him. I walked up and he said "Hi, whats your name?". He then followed with "Hows your day been?". In the meantime he put his arm around me, we smiled and took the picture. Its the same picture that you see atop this blog now. As I left he got in one last thing saying "Have a good rest of your day now!". That is one of my all time favorite Twins memories. And I think I can safely say that I may not ever meet someone as likeable as Harmon was in that one minute I shared with him.

It was hard to take in the news about Harmon this morning. I can't even fathom taking the worse news that has yet to come about him. Harmon was the first generation of Twins fan's hero. When the flocks would go out to the ol' Met, they went to see Harmon homer. Its one of those things I wish I could go back in time to see. Because he was one hell of a ballplayer.

No comments: