Minnesota Twins History: Harmon Killebrew Signs Major League Contract
On this day in 1954, Minnesota Twins great Harmon Killebrew signed his first MLB contract. 14 years later, he achieved a milestone no other Twin had before.
Harmon Killebrew was arguably the greatest Minnesota Twins player in history. He is the all-time franchise leader in many offensive categories and is known for his Hall of Fame power. On this day in 1954, the Major League Baseball journey began for the man later known as “The Killer”.
On June 19th, 1954 a 17-year-old kid named Harmon Clayton Killebrew from Payette, Idaho was realizing a dream. He signed a “bonus baby” contract with the then-Washington Senators worth $30,000. A “bonus baby” contract required the Senators to keep Killebrew on the roster for the next two years.
When people hear about a 17-year-old turned Hall of Famer, they probably think he tore it up from a young age. That was not the case with Killebrew. After the 1956 season, Killebrew had only hit nine home runs and batted 192 times. In fact, he wouldn’t play more than 44 games in a season until 1959.
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By the time 1959 rolled around, Killebrew had only 113 games played under his belt and hit just 11 career home runs with 30 RBIs. That would all finally change for Killebrew at age 23. During the 1959 season, Killebrew would hit 42 home runs and drive in 105 RBIs. He made the first of many All-Star teams, as well.
Killebrew would play the 1960 season in Washington and make the move to Minnesota with the franchise. From then on, he would become a Minnesota Twins legend. He would go on to be their first superstar and help them win their first pennant in 1965. He helped baseball thrive in the Twins Cities.
On June 19th ,1968, it seemed as if things came full circle. 49 years ago today, and exactly 14 years after signing his first professional baseball contract, Harmon Killebrew would record his 1,000th career RBI. He was the first Minnesota Twins player to do so. The team he did it against: the second version of the Washington Senators (who would later become the Texas Rangers).
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Killebrew’s story is one reason baseball is so beautiful. Things do come full circle in this beautiful game, and it happens in ways that just put people in awe. On the same date Killebrew signed his first pro contract, he hit a career milestone years later. And it was against the team that shared a name with the team Killebrew signed with 14 years before. Killebrew just got to show Senators fans what they were missing from his new home in Minnesota.