Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, whose path to stardom began in Washington before the Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961, died this morning of esophageal cancer.
Killebrew, 74, is part of the Washington Hall of Stars, which is now located at Nationals Park, and became a charter member of the Nationals' Ring of Honor last summer. Nationals managing principal owner Ted Lerner released a statement a few minutes ago regarding Killebrew's death:
"For baseball fans and Washingtonians there was a distinct sadness felt today with the passing of Harmon Killebrew. Our family and the Nationals organization were honored to host Harmon for a game last season at Nationals Park. We shall long treasure that evening and the gentlemanly impression left by Harmon.
"A Hall of Fame inductee in 1984, Harmon's contributions to the game of baseball are bountiful and lasting. While Harmon was best known for his days with the Minnesota Twins, our organization takes great pride in baseball's storied history in D.C. and Harmon plays a large role in that legacy. I will always remember his first 84 big league home runs came while playing for the Senators from 1954-60.
"It is the fond memories of Harmon and his days with Senators that added fuel to Washington's desire to reclaim a Major League franchise. For this, Washingtonians will be forever grateful."