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Harmon Killebrew Visits Young Fan in Hospital

May 21, 1964 - Eight-year-old John Guiney lay on his back in New York Hospital yesterday on a bed strewn with baseball magazines and ballplayer pictures kids get with bubble gum.

Most of the pictures featured Harmon Killebrew. Every boy has a favorite ballplayer, and the Twins’ outfielder just happens to be Johnny’s.

The reason John was in the hospital is that his robes caught fire when he was lighting the altar candles in his parish church a couple weeks ago. He received first-degree burns over 50% of his body.

Since his admission to the hospital, Johnny has done little but talk about Killebrew, so his father, Mike, called the Daily News and asked whether they could arrange for the ballplayer to visit his son.

When Harmon, who has four children of his own, was told that Johnny’s doctor said such a visit “would be the best medicine the kid could have,” he agreed immediately.

John recognized his hero the moment he walked into the room yesterday, but just to make sure, he flipped open one of his magazines. It was the same man, all right.

“How old are you, John?” asked Killebrew.

“Eight,” said the boy.

“That’s a coincidence,” said his visitor. “I have a boy who’s eight too. What month were you born?”

“August,” said John.

“That’s the very month my kid was born.”

Johnny grinned broadly.

The ballplayer gave the boy an autographed baseball and a photo inscribed: “My pal, John.” He signed his glove too.

“I’ll tell you what,” said Harmon to his biggest fan, “if you hurry up and get well, the next time I’m in town I’ll take you out to the ballpark and you can meet all the fellows.”

Johnny’s blue eyes shone. He looked like a boy who didn’t plan to waste any time hanging around a hospital bed.

“I have to go out to the ballpark now,” said Killebrew.

“I’ll watch you on television,” Johnny promised.

“Maybe I’ll hit you a couple,” Harmon said and walked out of the room.

In the first inning of last night’s 7-4 victory over the Yankees, Harmon Killebrew belted a homer with a man on. Then in the eighth, he blasted another.

“The Killer” is not only a swell guy — he’s a man who keeps his word.

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