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Baseball birthdays for June 29

Baseball birthdays for June 29

Here’s a subjective ranking of the top five for June 29.

1) Harmon Killebrew (1936)
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984 (one of two inductees born on June 29), Killebrew was one of the best hitters of his — or any — era. A 13-time All-Star who won the AL MVP in 1969, he led the AL in homers six times, finishing his career with 573 long balls. A fearsome hitter nicknamed “Killer,” the right-handed slugger was known to be soft-spoken and kind off the field — once, when asked what he liked to do in his free time, Killebrew supposed that he liked to wash the dishes.

At one time rumored to be the inspiration for the hitter depicted on the MLB logo, Killebrew crushed homers like few others, once hitting a shot at Metropolitan Stadium measured at 520 feet, which is still considered the longest in Twins history. After his playing days, Killebrew worked as a broadcaster for the Twins, A’s and Angels and also served as a hitting instructor for Oakland.

2) Wilbert Robinson (1864)
Known more for his post-playing career — though his seven hits in a nine-inning game on June 10, 1892, is still tied for the AL/NL record and, despite being a catcher, he leads all players born on June 29 with 196 stolen bases — Robinson was a manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1914-31. His feud with former teammate — and New York Giants manager — John McGraw fueled the intra-city rivalry, with Robinson leading the Brooklyn squad to two NL pennants. So revered that the club was casually referred to as the “Robins,” Robinson also served as president of the club for a few years after legendary owner Charles Ebbets passed away in 1925.

But one of Robinson’s most memorable escapades occurred not during a game, but during a Spring Training stunt in 1915. Taking on the challenge of catching a baseball from a plane, Robinson instead got under a grapefruit, which exploded when it hit his glove. The Brooklyn manager, knocked to the ground and covered in grapefruit juice, thought he was seriously…

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