The Washington Times - May 17, 2011, 05:03PM

Like all of baseball, the Nationals mourn the passing of Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 74 after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer.

Killebrew, who played for the Washington Senators at the start of his career, was a charter member of the Nationals Ring of Honor. Nationals principal owner Theodore N. Lerner released this statement today:

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“For baseball fans and Washingtonians there was a distinct sadness felt today with the passing of Harmon Killebrew. Our family and the Nationals organization were honored to host Harmon for a game last season at Nationals Park. We shall long treasure that evening and the gentlemanly impression left by Harmon.

“A Hall of Fame inductee in 1984, Harmon’s contributions to the game of baseball are bountiful and lasting. While Harmon was best known for his days with the Minnesota Twins, our organization takes great pride in baseball’s storied history in D.C. and Harmon plays a large role in that legacy. I will always remember his first 84 big league home runs came while playing for the Senators from 1954-60.

“It is the fond memories of Harmon and his days with the Senators that added fuel to Washington’s desire to reclaim a Major League franchise. For this, Washingtonians will be forever grateful.”

In honor of a remarkable baseball player and man, here are a few more remembrances of Killebrew, courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame:

“It is with profound sadness that we share with you that our beloved Harmon passed away this morning. He died peacefully surrounded by Nita and our family. He will be missed more than anyone can imagine but we take solace in the fact that he will no longer suffer. We thank you for your outpouring of support and prayers and take comfort in the fact that he was loved by so many.”  – The Killebrew Family

“We all loved Harmon so much. Harmon was a great man, on and off the field. He was a bigger Hall of Famer off the field. Everyone that Harmon ever came in contact with has a story about what a class man he was.” – Bert Blyleven 

“He was just a fierce competitor and a perfect gentleman at the same time. You don’t see that a lot. Sometimes you get fierce competitors who are bad people. You see guys that are not fierce competitors but nice guys. You don’t see the two of them together very much.” – George Brett

“This is a sad day for all of baseball and even harder for those of us who were fortunate enough to be a friend of Harmon’s. Harmon Killebrew was a gem. I can never thank him enough for all I learned from him. He was a consummate professional who treated everyone from the brashest of rookies to the groundskeepers to the ushers in the stadium with the utmost of respect. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for Harmon Killebrew. He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.” – Rod Carew