Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Baseball Player Kirby Puckett

Captain's Quarters: "After suffering what turned out to be a massive stroke yesterday, family members removed Kirby Puckett from life support today and he passed away at 44. ... Although I have been a Dodgers fan all of my life, Kirby was the kind of player that all baseball fans loved. His joy and enthusiasm for the game and the fans came across wherever he went and whenever he played. We celebrated with Kirby when he won the two World Series; we mourned when glaucoma took him from the game too soon. Now we are all stunned as death has taken him from us far, far too soon, and we pray for the family and loved ones he left behind."

South Dakota Politics: "When I was in high school, a bunch of us went to one of the Twins winter tour meetings that was being held in our hometown of Rochester. We were very excited because our favorite Twin, Randy Bush, was going to be the player that spoke. Well, something came up and Bush couldn't be there, so we had to settle for Kirby Puckett. Tough break, huh? Before the event, I went to the card shop and bought a Kirby Puckett rookie card. That night I got to meet Kirby Puckett, shake his hand, and he signed that baseball card. I still have that card hidden away under lock and key. You keep your treasures. I'll keep mine."

Between The 5 And The 6: "Puckett will always be remembered for his leaping grabs against the plexiglas wall of the Metrodome and his Game 6 walk-off home run in the 1991 World Series. ... But what baseball really lost was one of the great smiles and personalities in recent memory. Over the past few years, his legacy was scarred by allegations of affairs and sexual assaults. His divorce and public spats with mistresses caused the Twins to step away from one of their most famous alumni. But the fans still loved Kirby. They loved his smile, his persona, his energy and his dedication to the organization that he took to the top."

Water Cooler Wisdom: "There are exceptions, of course, but it seems that the truly great athletes -- the ones that are consistently at the top of the game year after year -- have one trait in common. They never seem to forget that they are still grown men playing a boy's game. Despite the attention, the media hype, the large-dollar contracts, they don't stop having fun on the field, and they never lose sight that they do so because they have been given a special gift. ... I can't think of anyone who exuded that sense of joy more than Kirby Puckett."

Power Line: "Kirby was liked and respected everywhere, but I think you had to be a Twins fan to fully appreciate him. His cheerful confidence and good humor never flagged. He never played at less than full speed, no matter how insignificant a game may have been in the standings. Kirby's stumpy appearance was deceiving; he was fast, especially in his early years, and was one of the strongest men in baseball. Notwithstanding his image, which bordered on the cuddly, Kirby was tough. I once saw a catcher try to block the plate as he was coming in to score; Puckett knocked him halfway to the dugout."