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The KC Royals don’t have a history of prolific home run hitters, but they once had 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 was the Royals or the A’s. But a milestone in his career came with Killebrew in a Royals uniform.

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

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

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

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

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