By Ken Reed
I recently received a call from a writer who was doing a piece on Harmon Killebrew. He had read an old column I had written about Killebrew and wanted to know if I would like to comment about Killebrew the person.
Here is some of what I told him:
“Harmon Killebrew was a Hall of Fame baseball player and an even better man. He followed the Golden Rule and treated everyone with respect, no matter their position in life. He had a spiritual aura about him and seemed to intuitively know that we are all in this world together. As such, he had time for everyone.
“Killebrew’s autograph tells another story about his character. Unlike many professional athletes who simply scribble a few letters when asked for an autograph, Killebrew made a concerted effort to make his signature legible for everyone who asked for it. Moreover, he also strongly encouraged every young player in the Twins system to follow suit and start signing autographs legibly for the fans that supported them and made their professional lives possible. Former Twins players like Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau have spoken eloquently on many occasions about what a great mentor Killebrew was for them — on and off the field.
“I’m going to carry Harmon Killebrew’s last Topps baseball card with me in my wallet. I don’t need it to remind me about Killebrew’s 573 career home runs. But I do need it to periodically remind me to try and carry myself as Killebrew did.”
There is a movement afloat to honor Killebrew and what he stood for — on and off the field — with a commemorative stamp. I can’t think of a sports figure who would be more deserving. Killebrew led an exemplary life. As Ralph Nader wrote, “A Killebrew stamp will allow a new generation of Americans to get to know the athlete and man, and the values and principles he embraced during his admirable life.”
If you support a Killebrew stamp, send your thoughts and feelings to:
Ms. Mary-Anne Penner
Acting Executive Director
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20260-3501
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
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Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
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Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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