This began as a simple project, looking up the best Twins performances in the All-Star Game.
With help from crack Twins media relations staffer Patrick Stumpf, a list was made. The Twins have had 118 players named to the All-Star Game. Through the years, many have stepped up with top games among the stars.
But it became clear that one Twin stepped up with more good games in the Midsummer Classic than other Twins — Harmon Killebrew.
In 13 All-Star Games, including six starts, Killebrew hit .308 with three home runs, six RBI and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.011.
So an executive decision was made. We’ll give glory to the man who slugged 573 home runs in his career.
This is a rundown of Harmon’s great All-Star games. Here’s to you, Killer.
1961: Killebrew pinch hit for Dick Donovan in the sixth inning then played third base. In his first at-bat, Killebrew homered to pull the AL within 2-1. But the NL squeezed out a 5-4 victory in 10 innings on a walkoff single by Roberto Clemente that scored Willie Mays.
1964: Killebrew got the start in left field and batted cleanup. He drove in Jim Fregosi with a single in the first inning off Don Drysdale. He singled off Jim Bunning in the fourth and singled off Chris Short in the sixth. He scored on Brooks Robinson’s triple. But the NL won 7-4.
1965: Killer started at third base and batted third in the game played at the Met. He drew a walk in the fourth before hitting a two-run homer off Jim Maloney in the fifth. He walked in the seventh. The AL was down 6-5 in the ninth, but Killer struck out against Bob Gibson for the second out. The NL held on to win.
1971: Killebrew’s last All-Star Game. He replaced Norm Cash in the sixth inning. Reggie Jackson hit the light tower in this game, and Johnny Bench hit one that might have traveled farther. What’s sometimes overlooked is that Killebrew clobbered a two-run homer off Fergie Jenkins in this game. He grounded into a double play against Don Wilson in the eighth, his final All-Star Game at bat. The AL won this one, 6-4.