Harmon Clayton "Killer" Killebrew was just 17-years-old (take that Bryce Harper!), six days shy of his 18th birthday when he made his Major League debut with the Washington Senators on June 23, 1954 in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois. Killebrew, a so-called "Bonus Baby", entered the game as a pinch runner for pinch hitter Clyde Vollmer and advanced as far as second base before a flyout to left by Johnny Pesky (of Pesky Pole fame, yes) stranded Killebrew there. Seven games later, Killebrew would collect his first Major League hit, singling to center field off Philadelphia Athletics' starter Alex Kellner for the first of three hits that day and the first of 2,086 hits he would collect over the course of his 22-year-career. Killebrew would play his first seven seasons with the Senators, leaving the nation's capital when the original D.C. Senators departed for Minnesota...
Killebrew played his last game as a Washington Senator on October 2, 1960, going 1 for 4 with two K's in a 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. A then-24-year-old Killebrew finished his final season with the Senators with a .276/.375/.534 slash line, 19 doubles, 31 HR's and 80 RBI's. The previous season he'd led the Major Leagues in HR's with 42 homers. The 1959 season was the first of six in which he'd lead the AL in home runs, but the only time he did so as a Senator.
51 years after he last played a game as a Senator in the nation's capital, Killebrew's still revered by those who had the pleasure of watching the "Killer" play. The majority of his career would end up being played in Minnesota, but Senators fans would never forget Killebrew's time in D.C. Killebrew finished his career in 1975 with the Kansas City Royals, and went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 in a Twins cap:
"Muscular slugger with monument home run and RBI success. His 573 homers over 22 years ranks fifth All-Time and second only to [Babe] Ruth among A.L. hitters. Tied or led A.L. in home runs 6 times, belted over 40 on 8 occasions and is third in home run frequency. Drove in 100 runs 9 times. A.L. MVP in 1969."
Earlier this week, a 74-year-old Killebrew gracefully announced his exit from public life, releasing a statement which said simply, "My illness has progressed beyond my doctors’ expectation of cure." Killebrew passed away this morning.