1971: Killebrew’s 500th

August 10, 1971

At 35 years, 51 days old, Harmon Killebrew became the 10th member of baseball’s 500 home run club. He hit numbers 500 and 501 in a loss against Baltimore. The list at the time (* = still active as of 8/10/71):

1. Babe Ruth 714
2. Willie Mays* 643
3. Hank Aaron* 623
4. Mickey Mantle 536
5. Jimmie Foxx 534
6. Ted Williams 521
7. Eddie Matthews 512
8. Ernie Banks* 511
9. Mel Ott 511
10. Harmon Killebrew* 501

Number 500 came on a two-run blast that measured 396 feet into the left-field bleachers at Metropolitan Stadium. Despite Killer’s two homers, the Twins lost in extra innings thanks to a lead off home run by Merv Rettenmud in the top of the 10th inning.

At the time, Killebrew was the fifth youngest player to reach the mark. The youngest had been Jimmie Foxx, with Mays, Aaron, and Ruth also reaching the milestone at a younger age than Killer.

Killebrew hit number 500 in career at-bat number 6,671. At the time, only Babe Ruth had done it with fewer at-bats (5,801).

Today, there are 25 men who have hit 500 major league home runs. Killebrew sits at number nine on the all-time list with 573 career home runs, though he will be number 10 as soon as Alex Rodriguez hits two more.

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