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Kirby Puckett passed away today after suffering a stroke yesterday. We remember Kirby the ballplayer with affection, emerging from nowhere to be a leader of the World Series champion Twin clubs of 1987 and 1991, and always with a smile on his face. Teammmates would rub his head for luck.

We do not forget the glaucoma which prematurely ended his career, and his unhappy life after baseball. Today, and into the season I'm sure, those of us old enough to remember will recall Puckett at the plate and in centerfield. Our condolences to his family.

Thanks to smcs for passing on this sad news.
Kirby Puckett 1960-2006 | 12 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Waveburner - Monday, March 06 2006 @ 09:26 PM EST (#141943) #
Kirby was one of the best players I have ever seen. I didn't like him much at the time since it seemed he always crushed the Jays, but I respected his abilities with the bat and roaming in CF. This is quite the shock. May he RIP.
Gerry - Monday, March 06 2006 @ 09:29 PM EST (#141945) #
Kirby was a fun guy to see play and he had fun playing the game. His home run in extra innings of game 6 of the 1991 world series is still imprinted on my brain. For a rotund guy, Kirby could really "go get it" in centre field. He was an enjoyable player to watch, even if you didn't support the Twins.
Glevin - Monday, March 06 2006 @ 10:20 PM EST (#141948) #
I loved watching Kirby. He was just so much fun in the field, at bat, or running the bases. He was also totally unmistakable. As jaded as I am about professional athletes, I was still shocked to find out that his good guy image was (very probably) untrue.
JohnnyMac - Monday, March 06 2006 @ 11:28 PM EST (#141953) #
It's truly a sad day for baseball fans everywhere. Despite conflicting stories of Kirby's past, there is no denying he was one of the greatest big-game players ever. I really looked up to him not only because I was named after him (really) but because he was exactly the kind of player I love to watch. There is truly a shortage of these kinds of players. What a sad day. I truly feel for his family, friends and Twin fans everywhere. From one Kirby to another, Rest in Peace.
Magpie - Monday, March 06 2006 @ 11:36 PM EST (#141954) #
OK, he was probably a little over-rated... and maybe he wasn't as good a person away from the ballpark as he was when he was in uniform.

But he was a genuinely outstanding player (if not for the glaucoma, he would have easily made it well past 3000 hits and made himself an automatic HoFer anyway), he provided some truly memorable post-season moments, and he was enormous fun to watch.

And he was younger than Julio Franco. He shouldn't be gone this soon.

Coach - Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 08:48 AM EST (#141961) #
Many consider 1991 the best World Series ever, and Puckett's performance in Game 6 was legendary. Especially after guaranteeing -- in a manner more reminiscent of Messier's indomitable determination than Namath's swagger -- that he would put his team on his back that night.

We shouldn't expect athletic icons to be role models off the field. Kirby the person, though he overcame a disadvantaged childhood to entertain millions, was flawed, like most of us. Puck the ballplayer will always be a larger-than-life hero. He's my center fielder on the all-time "got the most out of his physical tools" nine and captain of the "played with infectious exuberance" team. His passing is doubly sad; it was unfortunately premature and baseball has lost one of its finest ambassadors of joy.
Nick - Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 01:02 PM EST (#141972) #
First, let me preface by saying that I respect Coach, Magpie, Mike Green, and others a great deal. I really enjoy coming to this site for the superior content regarding my favorite baseball team. I hope my comments can be treated as a different viewpoint. I don’t have any kind of agenda and my comments are not gratuitous. But I feel strongly on this issue and feel I must say something. Yes, as human beings, we are all flawed. But not all flaws are equal. Kirby Puckett’s “flaws” were enough that I am shocked at how so many have simply glossed over them as if it were no big deal. According to his wife, he:
- Put a cocked gun to his wife’s head as she held their 2-year old daughter
- Tried to strangle his wife with an electrical cord.
- Locked his wife in the basement of their home.
- Used a power saw to cut through a door when she had fled from him and locked herself in a room.
- Threatened to kill his wife.

Sorry, but those are not things that you just dismiss as flaws and then go on to celebrate his ability to hit a baseball in great detail. Anyone who would put a gun to his wife’s head while holding his child is sub-human in my view – scum. His mistress of 18 years also reported repeated verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. I realize both women have an ax to grind as Puckett cheated on both of them with many other women, but many domestic violence situations are a “he said, she said” type of situation, making it difficult to convict the abuser.

Puckett not only wasn’t a role model, he was the complete opposite. He turned out to be a pretty reprehensible human being after fooling baseball fans for many years. I felt sad the day I read Frank Deford’s article in Sports Illustrated. I don’t feel sad today. If Tonya Puckett was your sister, would you be mourning Kirby Puckett's death?
Mike Green - Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 02:06 PM EST (#141973) #
No one here, I am sure, approves of domestic violence. We simply lament the passing of a great ballplayer. Not having observed the legal proceedings nor read the decision of the courts, I make no judgment about what actually transpired between Puckett and his wife.

A woman was depressed when she learned that Gandhi had abused his wife. She then decided to look at it another way. The next time she met a man who abused his wife, she wondered if he was a closet Gandhi. Obviously, Puckett wasn't Gandhi, but it still is true that when someone dies, we search for the positive aspects of their life to draw from.

Gerry - Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 02:08 PM EST (#141974) #

While everyone else knew of those things you wrote, we chose to downplay them. Generally, when someone dies, we try to be positive in the first 24 hours after their passing away.

The incidents you mention occurred several years ago. I believe Puckett was acquitted in court. People have been known to make exaggerated allegations for gain. Also do you know if Puckett had changed his life since those incidents?

Puckett was not a saint, and probably had a lot of baggage off the field. But I decided to be gracious in a time of sadness for his family and his many friends and fans. You decided to wade in with both feet.
Jordan - Tuesday, March 07 2006 @ 03:27 PM EST (#141980) #
I remember watching the Twins game in which Kirby Puckett got his first major-league hit -- IIRC, it was one of those speeding opposite-field turf rollers that the Metrodome specialized in. That's a pretty special memory. To look at Puckett then, you'd never imagine he would hit 10 homers in a season, let alone 30. He was a tremendous talent, an extremely fun player to watch, and the last guy you wanted to see facing your team's closer with the game on the line. The premature end of his career was a true loss for baseball.

For all his excellence on the field, Puckett clearly had problems off it, and he caused sorrow that should not be overlooked. There's always been a debate about the extent to which pro athletes should be lionized, especially by children. I personally think kids should have pro athletes as their heroes, but not (necessarily) as their role models, and Puckett is an excellent illustration of why. Explaining that critical difference is one of the things we need to do for our kids' benefit.

All that said, this is a topic for tomorrow. Today is for respecting the passage of a life.
Mike Green - Thursday, March 09 2006 @ 10:04 AM EST (#142173) #
The day after tomorrow arrived, and with it, this story. In light of Tonya Puckett's reaction to her former husband's passing, it seems fair for us to focus on his baseball accomplishments.
truefan - Monday, March 13 2006 @ 04:42 PM EST (#142456) #
After the US/Japan WBC game, I found myself listening Sunday night on XM radio to the broadcast of an event at Metrodome, in memorial to Kirby Puckett. Lots of speakers, including Dave Winfield and Harmon Killabrew.

There's always a lot of shock and grief when anyone goes before their time. But from that event last night it's impossible to deny that Kirby Puckett, by his positive attitude and work ethic, and by the fact that he achieved more than would be expected by someone of his size, made a very positive impact on a huge number of people especially in the Twin Cities area....
Kirby Puckett 1960-2006 | 12 comments | Create New Account
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