WASHINGTON - Baseball Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, one of the most fabled of the Minnesota Twins, could get his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp.
Killebrew, who died in 2011 of esophageal cancer, was known for his home run slugging and a stand-up character that won him lifelong fans.
Now Minnesota's congressional delegation is urging the U.S. Postal Service to honor Killebrew's legacy by putting him on a stamp. "He wasn't just the home-run king he was also the king of sportsmanship," U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said. "We just think he's the perfect person to put on the stamp."
Killebrew played for the Twins from 1961 to 1974 and retired with 573 career home runs, more than any other righthanded hitter in American League history at the time. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 and a bronze statute honoring him stands outside Target Field.
Kevin Smith, senior director of corporate communications and broadcasting for the Twins, said the organization is proud to support the effort and said no one deserves it more than Killebrew.
"To get Harmon Killebrew on a postage stamp would be something good for this country," Smith said. "His nickname was the Killer, and I've never heard a nickname that is so not fitting for the gentleman he was."
Killebrew's widow, Nita Killebrew, said she is confident her husband will be immortalized on a stamp because he touched so many lives.
"I know it will happen because of Harmon's reputation," she said. "He was such a great ambassador for baseball and for people in general. What was really important to him was treating people well and being there for people."
The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee considers subjects for stamps "who have made extraordinary contributions to American society and culture ... through their achievements in their respective fields have made enduring contributions," according to the Postal Service website.
The committee votes several times a year and has told Nita Killebrew that her husband is on the ballot, she said.
In the meantime she encourages his fans to continue to write.
"Every so often, when you think about it, just write them a letter and tell them another story why Harmon and his character deserves a stamp," she said.
Nita Killebrew said she's humbled by the outpouring of love for her late husband.
"This was not just a good ballplayer, this was a warm, loving, compassionate human," she said. "If he saw his face on a stamp he would say, 'What have I done to deserve such an honor?' while the rest of us are saying, 'What haven't you done?' That's just how he was."