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Kirby Puckett: 1960-2006
2006-03-06 17:14
by Bob Timmermann

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett passed away today in Phoenix after a stroke. Puckett was 44 years old.

Puckett's career record.

Earlier references (including stated that Puckett was born in 1961, but the New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, and ESPN state he was born in 1960.

My mom was a big baseball fan, but she was stricly a National League fan. I remember back in 1987, she called me up when she was watching the ALCS and asked me "What in the world is a Kirby Puckett?" I don't think she had ever seen a baseball player built like Puckett.

Press release/obituary from the Twins.

Batgirl's tribute, thanks to Linkmeister.

2006-03-06 17:21:51
1.   Andrew Shimmin
How awful. Puckett was instantly my favorite player in the first World Series I ever watched. Requiescat In Pace.
2006-03-06 18:10:51
2.   brockdc
RIP, Kirby Puckett. Easily one of my all-time favorites.
2006-03-06 18:17:24
3.   Alex Belth
Man, that is a real shame. I've got nothing but positive memories of that guy as a player. I was 13 when he was a rookie. Seemed like he had a bunch of trouble off-the-field. Regardless, he was a memorable player.
2006-03-06 18:29:33
4.   grandcosmo
I saw Puckett's last at-bat in organized baseball. It was at spring training in Fort Myers in March of 1996 just a day or two before he was diagnosed with glaucoma.
2006-03-06 19:45:31
5.   skybluestoday
My goodness, this is so sad. Back during my "middle period" of being into MLB (late 1980s-early 1990s, when I was in college and right afterwards), he was just awesome. I am crying. What a great ballplayer -- and a great personality. Bye, Kirby. You will be missed. :-(
2006-03-06 20:28:42
6.   Uncle Miltie
It's kind of unfortunate that all of the off the field stuff happened in the last years of his life. I think it really tarnished his image.
2006-03-06 21:10:10
7.   Mark
My family have always been Twins fans, even after moving away from Minneapolis; ergo growing up I got to experience the absolute roller coasters of both the 87 and 91 Series. The Game 6 eleventh inning is quite possibly the happiest I have ever seen my father in his entire life, period.
2006-03-06 21:17:31
8.   Suffering Bruin
I'm in shock.

My last memory of Kirby Puckett was reading on an article by Frank Deford that was, as we all remember, less than flattering. I remember thinking at the time, "Another idol falls" because for me, Kirby was an idol. I'm not a Twins fan but I always felt that if you didn't like Kirby Puckett, you just didn't like baseball and probably didn't like people. Deford's article and now Puckett's untimely death have left me disoriented.

Few athletes were more fun to watch and by many accounts, few were more fun to play with.

2006-03-06 22:17:33
9.   Cliff Corcoran
Has there ever been a Hall of Fame player with a more disastrous post-career life? Between the health problems, including the glaucoma that ended his career, the scandal, the divorce, and now an untimely death, Kirby Puckett has gone from being the ultimate feel-good player to being one of the game's saddest stories. Here's to remembering the good times. Let's hope ESPN Classic pops in those World Series tapes over the next few days.
2006-03-06 22:32:20
10.   Bob Timmermann
One would say that Lou Gehrig's post-career life wasn't a lot of fun.
2006-03-06 22:48:26
11.   das411
You guys should go read Ken's piece, "Kirby Thoughts", on Catfish Stew.

RIP Kirby :(

2006-03-06 22:54:48
12.   coachjpark
While Lou Gehrig's post-career life certainly wasn't fun, Gehrig did nothing to hurt his legacy as a ballplayer and still considered considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Puckett's story is probably more tragic considering his wounds were self-inflicted and perhaps tarnished an otherwise great baseball career....
2006-03-07 01:37:34
13.   Murray
O.J. Simpson? Right--wrong sport.
2006-03-07 05:27:40
14.   DXMachina
What a shame. He was one of my favorites, and an absolute joy to watch play.
2006-03-07 06:55:42
15.   Sam DC
Ball Wonk has a fine Kirby tribute up, with some personal recollections and a nice excerpt of Puckett's Hall of Fame speech.

2006-03-07 07:37:20
16.   Cliff Corcoran
My boss did a book with Kirby back in the day. She speaks of him glowingly and says the Kirby we thought we knew, the good guy, was the real Kirby. She never believed the charges against him (of which he was acquited, by the way), and says the divorce was simply a matter of him marrying the wrong woman, something that was apparent even when he was playing.

As for his health problems, she says Kirby fought his body his whole life.

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