Red Sox: Home run hitting sluggers Boston should have signed
By Rick McNair
If I was ever going to build a player that was simply made for Fenway Park it would be Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. Signed as an 18-year-old “bonus baby” Killer was forced to stay on the Senators MLB roster for two years. Flipping between the minors and majors Killebrew’s first full season was 1959 and he won the first of six home run titles.
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In the 1960s the Twins – formerly the Senators – had a remarkable lineup that also included two great hitters in Tony Oliva and Rod Carew. I remember the joy of watching the Twins batting practice that seemed to continue right into the game. This club could really hit.
Killebrew’s numbers at Fenway Park are exceptional. In 135 games and 488 at-bats “Hammerin’ Harmon” hit .316 with 37 home runs and 107 RBI. Killebrew’s OPS was 1.038. One particular note is in 1963 when Boston’s Dick Stuart or “Stone Fingers” was in a battle for the home run title with Killebrew. In a late season, three game series the Red Sox staff allowed five home runs to Killebrew – supposedly they were fed up with Stuart’s indifferent play and served up some tasty meatballs.
Killebrew would have been deadly at Fenway Park, but what would have immensely helped is his average as Killebrew hit .256 for his career. Half a schedule at Fenway would have given that a jolt. Killebrew hit more road home runs ar Fenway than at any other park.