Harmon Killebrew: Baseball's Great First Baseman and His Battle Against Cancer

Rich StoweAnalyst IIIMay 13, 2011

In a story I just read on ESPN.com, Harmon Killebrew has informed the world that his battle against esophageal cancer is nearing the end.

Sadly, it's not the end we all hoped for. 

According to his statement, the cancer has "progressed beyond his doctors' expectation for a cure."  He is going to stop receiving treatment and instead enter hospice care to live out the rest of his life.

I lost my mother to skin cancer 10 years ago and was with her as she lived out her final days in hospice care.  The hospice workers were fantastic.  They ensured she was as comfortable as could be and that we were as well.  It's never easy watching someone you love near the end. 

I hope Harmon is as comfortable as he can be and in as little pain as possible and that his family and friends get to enjoy some good times with him for one last time.

Killebrew was one of the best power hitters in the game and one of the game's best first basemen ever.  He hit 573 HRs and had a career OPS-plus of 143.  He was one of the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins' best hitters in their history.  Harmon was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his fourth ballot in 1984.

Killebrew, sadly, will join a list of former players and baseball icons that we have seen pass over the last year: Bob Feller, Robin Roberts, Ron Santo, George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, among others.

Here's hoping the end is as peaceful as possible for Harmon and his family.  Thank you, Harmon, for all the joy you've brought every baseball fan since your rookie year.  Maybe one day we can finally see the end of cancer taking loved ones from us before their time.