On This Day: Harmon Killebrew hits 573rd HR in KC Royals uniform

The Hall of Famer tallied 573 career home runs.
Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports

The KC Royals do not have a history of prolific home-run hitters, but they once rostered one of the best in MLB history. Hitter Harmon Killebrew was the face of Minnesota Twins baseball since the franchise moved from Washington. The 13-time All-Star and 1969 MVP terrorized Kansas City baseball, whether it be the Royals or Athletics. But, a career milestone came with Killebrew in a Royals uniform.

Harmon Killebrew hits historic homer in KC Royals win on Sept. 18, 1975.

On Sept. 18, 1975, Killebrew batted sixth in the Royals lineup. The 39-year-old righty was buried behind players like George Brett and Amos Otis, serving more as a veteran leader than a contributor. But, this game saw him put a run on the board by himself. He hit his 14th home run that season in the top of the second inning, crucial in a 4-3 Royals win. The jack served as both Killebrew's final career home run and the 573rd of his career.

The home run came at a special place, one that Killebrew once called home. The Royals faced the Twins on the road in Metropolitan Stadium, a place where Killebrew hit 246 of his career home runs.

Killebrew ended the 1975 season with a .199 batting average, 14 home runs, and 44 RBIs. It was a sour way to end a historic career. It could have been avoided, if the Twins had their way. Minnesota offered to make Killebrew a player-coach or the Tacoma Twins' manager down in Triple-A. Killebrew felt he had more in the tank and signed one with the Royals for a final go.

The Royals did not retain the slugger after 1975 and he formally announced his retirement on Mar. 3, 1976. When he retired, Killebrew ranked fifth all-time in home runs, behind legends like Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Killebrew's 573 career home runs still ranks 12th all-time among MLB players.

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