Current and former Twins to honor Killebrew

Current and former Twins to honor Killebrew

OAKLAND -- Perhaps it's just coincidence, but it's certainly fitting that the Twins will be in town to play the D-backs on Friday on the day of former Twins legend and Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew's funeral at Christ's Church of the Valley in Peoria, Ariz.

The Twins held a closed-door meeting prior to Thursday's game against the A's to make sure all of the players were aware that there will be two team buses heading to the ceremony, which will be open to the public on Friday at 10 a.m.

"We have two buses going from the hotel, so I'd imagine you'd see pretty much the whole team there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We're not going to force anybody -- it's an individual thing -- but I would imagine you'll see a lot of people."

Right-hander Nick Blackburn confirmed the entire team is planning on attending the ceremony.

"I think the plan is that we're all going to be going," Blackburn said. "Harmon was a great guy and a great organizational guy. He came around during Spring Training and all that stuff, so overall, he was just a great person. So I think it'll be good to show our respect to Harmon and his family."

And it won't just be current Minnesota players and coaches at the funeral, as many former Twins will also be in attendance, such as Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Frank Quilici.


Carew is just one of several Hall of Famers who will be in attendance, including Bert Blyleven, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and Frank Robinson.

The pall bearers will be Gardenhire, Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan as well as Carew, Oliva, Quilici and Molitor.

"[I'm] touched to say the least," Gardenhire said of being asked to be a pallbearer. "Whatever they need from me or anybody else here, I think our guys are willing to do anything. He's done a lot for us, so we're all willing to do whatever his family would like."

"It's obviously a tough day for everyone, but we're getting a chance to go pay respects and hopefully be able to put his family at comfort and at ease a little bit," Nathan added. "There are going to be a lot of emotions there, I'm sure."

Blyleven is scheduled to eulogize Killebrew, who died Tuesday after a bout with esophageal cancer.

The funeral will also be streamed live on twinsbaseball.com and televised live in the Twin Cities area at noon CT on KMSP, KSTP, WCCO, KARE and Fox Sports North.

There will also be a private burial service on Monday in Payette, Idaho, the 13-time All-Star's hometown. And there will be a public memorial held at Target Field at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, the Killebrew family is urging fans to send donations to the Harmon Killebrew Foundation "Legacy Program" at: P.O. Box 14550, Scottsdale, Ariz., 85267 or by visiting HarmonKillebrewFoundation.org.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.