Monday, March 06, 2006

Kirby Puckett - A great ball player...a role model for role models.

From SI:
"I wanted to play baseball ever since I was 5 years old,"
he said in his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2001.
"And I want you to remember the guiding principles of my life: You can be what you want to be if you believe in yourself and you work hard, because anything, and I'm telling you anything, is possible."

"Don't feel sorry for yourself if obstacles get in your way. Our great Twins' World Series teams faced odds and we beat 'em. Jackie Robinson faced odds and made this game truly the national game. And I faced odds when glaucoma took the bat out of my hands, but I didn't give in or feel sorry for myself. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It may be cloudy in my right eye, but the sun is shining very brightly in my left eye."
He didn't take care of himself after he stopped playing, put on a lot of weight. And then came the startling news that he seemed to have been living a double life, a private Puckett at odds with the joyful player baseball knew.

From the AP:
Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, the buoyant, barrel-shaped outfielder with the perpetual smile who led the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles in a five-year span, died Monday at an Arizona hospital.
"If we had to lose and if one person basically was the reason -- you never want to lose -- but you didn't mind it being Kirby Puckett. When he made the catch and when he hit the home run you could tell the whole thing had turned,"
Smoltz said Monday night.
"His name just seemed to be synonymous with being a superstar. It's not supposed to happen like this," Smoltz said.
Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk echoed Smoltz's sentiment.
"There was no player I enjoyed playing against more than Kirby. He brought such joy to the game. He elevated the play of everyone around him,"
Fisk said in a statement to the Hall.

Kirby Puckett gets a victory lift from Twins teammate Chili Davis after hitting his game-winning homer to beat the Braves.

Kirby Puckett had to retire because of glaucoma.

The word is probably thrown around much to much, but Kirby Puckett was a GREAT baseball player and a role model for young people.

I've been a NY Yankees fan since I can remember. The 1976-1979 Yankees were the greatest. I was 7-10 years old, and Reggie was my favorite player. I wore #44 for my little league team...

I followed baseball all through the 80's growing up, and Puckett...even though he played for the Minnesota Twins...was always a blast to watch. It was very mildly difficult to root against him even when he was playing the Yankees, and that's saying a lot.

We need more Kirby Puckett's these least in sports. He will be missed.

If your a baseball fan...or a sports fan at all, you need to check in with The Sports Guy from time to time. He's an old friend and fantastically funny. I'm sure he's have some things to say on Kirby's passing soon.


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