Baseball in 2010 has endured so many famous losses that it would have been OK to wait a few more days for more bad news on the health front.
Killebrew, who is 74 years old, made a statement through the Twins that he expects to beat the disease.
"With my wife, Nita, by my side, I have begun preparing for what is perhaps the most difficult battle of my life. I am being treated by a team of medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic. While my condition is very serious, I have confidence in my doctors and the medical staff and I anticipate a full recovery."
Cancer always is bad. Some cancers are worse than others. Cancer of the esophagus is one of the worst. But the Mayo Clinic is where you want to be, and Killebrew's attitude is the one you want to have.
The Stew's thoughts are with Killebrew, who was nice enough to answer some questions this past October during the MLB playoffs. We talked about Joe Mauer(notes), PED's and Killebrew's famous appearance on David Letterman.
DB: Did you use to go on David Letterman a lot?
HK: Used to a lot? I was on his show once [laughs].
DB: Just one?
HK: Well, I came out with other Hall of Famers to do a Top 10 deal a couple years ago, but you might remember me being on a whole show [laughs].
DB: That's right!
HK: Yep, I was on for a whole hour (in 1986). And that was the first time that ever happened. I said, "What am I gonna do with David Letterman for a whole hour?" They said, "Don't worry, we got it figured out, it'll work out fine."
DB: So what do you remember about the experience?
HK: At first, they called me to ask if I would do a segment for a special they were doing. I said, "No, I don't think I want to do that." But they kept after me and talked me into it and sent a crew out to Oregon and Idaho, where I was, and they spent a whole week out there. They did a lot of filming and they cut it down to an eight-minute segment [laughs].
HK: So it came time for the show and they called me up and said, "We're not going to have time to put you on the show." I said, "Oh, great. Well, that's good [laughs]!" So I think they were feeling sorry or guilty and, a couple of months later they called and said, "Dave Letterman wants you to do the whole show." And I said, "Oh, I don't think so. What am I going to do with David Letterman for a whole hour?" And they said, "Aw, c'mon, it'll be great." Finally, I said I'd do it.
DB: Were you more of a Johnny Carson man?
HK: Well, in those days, yeah. I didn't really know Dave Letterman, but I knew he was a real baseball fan. Of course, when I was on there, it went great. Worked out real fine.
All-time, Killebrew is 11th in home runs, 15th in walks and 37th in adjusted batting wins.
Most of all, he seems like a kind person. And he markets his own root beer! We wish him a quick and lasting recovery.
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