Over at IIS, I wrote about my love and devotion to the Minnesota Twins, dating back to ’87 and ’91 a few months ago (read it here). At the centerpiece of those two teams was a jolly man who never took a picture where he wasn’t laughing or hustling. #34 was the epitome of a popular athlete. Talented, enthusiastic and hard working.
Of course, there was some trouble after he retired. He retired due to glaucoma, then had allegations of sexual abuse and a troubled marriage, which ended ignominiously a few years ago. But Puck never shied away from the spotlight or the media, even when it was shining bright or hounding him. Even though he owed us nothing, he still felt he owed it to us not to shrink away when the going got tough. That was just Kirby’s way.
Now, Kirby Puckett is fighting for his life, and according to most sources, hope is fading. I, in your spirit, will not shy away from the fact that you were my hero growing up, Kirby, despite the many faux pas you had since your baseball career ended. My best wishes go out to the Puckett family and all of the fans that still consider him the greatest Twin of all time.
EDIT: Kirby has passed away. I can’t pontificate nearly as well as Bat-Girl.