Kirby Puckett: 1960-2006

Tuesday

I must confess. The Kirby Puckett I watched was one who could barely see a ball coming at him from 60’ 6” away.

I grew immediately after the days where he was one of the elite baseball players in the world. My early memories in the sport are of Joe Carter’s walk off homerun in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Two year earlier, Puckett did the exact same thing, leading the Minnesota Twins to a come from behind World Series victory against Atlanta.

I saw baseball strike. I saw Cal Ripken break the consecutive games played record. I saw McGwire, Sosa, and eventually Bonds shatter homerun records. I grew up with Ken Griffey Jr. being every child’s hero.

I just missed Kirby.

I think that’s part of what makes him so great. I know who Kirby Puckett was and can appreciate what he brought to the world as both an athlete and a man despite never seeing him play a live game.

I won’t remember him for how he died. I’ll watch ESPN classic and watch that Game 6 that most people remember him for. I’ll take a look at the back of the baseball cards I have of him that show me he was one of the most complete players to ever play the game. He hit for average and power and played stellar defense.

Over the next few days, I’ll read about what a great person he was off the field. I’ll read about the charities he ran and the genuine guy that he was. Outside of a woman in a bathroom stall and a Sports Illustrated writer, not too many people have a bad thing to say about him.

No, I don’t actually remember Kirby Puckett, but I’ll never forget him.

1 comments:

Scott 2:58 PM, March 08, 2006  

Kirby was a "regular guy," never the proto-typical sports hero. Becase of that, it made it imperfections easier for fans to accept. You accept him and his problems, kinda like your cousin who gets into trouble sometimes, but is really a nice guy at heart.

Re the Barry Bonds story, I'm sick of SI's hypocrisy. They lament the fall of the sports hero like's its some kind of new phenomenon. I take SI writer Phil Taylor to task in my blog essay, read it at http://mymountain.blogspot.com/2006/03/si-lament-there-are-no-more-heros.html

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