Thanks Again, Kirby!
While rambling around on YouTube the other night, I was reminded that it has been three years since Kirby Puckett passed away (March 6, 2006), so I wanted to post another little tribute to the player who was my baseball hero growing up (hopefully this will become an annual tradition on the date of his sudden passing).
Even though I really wasn’t that “into” baseball (I was born in 1985) during the heyday of Puckett’s great career, I still give him a lot of credit for fostering my life of the game that still burns within me. I mean, it takes a rare player to captivate an area like Puckett did. Even though I don’t think I watched an entire baseball game until about 1996 or so, I have fond memories of Kirby, such as being present when he received the Silver Slugger Award in 1990, or sitting “right above him” in ’94-’95 when he was in right field. Like I said, even though my childish interests were more directed at Batman, Superman, and Power Rangers at that time in my life, I was still captivated by Kirby Puckett. The only player the Twins have had even come close to that sort of charisma/recognition is Torii Hunter, but he still wasn’t Puck and I think Torii himself would even admit it as such.
To be honest, though, I think the saddest part of Kirby’s death three years ago was that he wasn’t yet comfortable enough to return to MN after his court trial some years earlier. However, just the fact that Puck was embarrassed about the whole thing tells me that he really wasn’t a bad guy…he just made a mistake that, because of his celebrity, got dragged through the mud. Thus, I respect Puck’s decision to get away from MN for awhile after that nasty trial, but I truly believe that the community would have welcomed him back at any time. There was just too much to love about Kirby that could not be overshadowed by a couple of undoings, which was proven by the overwhelming tributes after his death.
Here are two tribute videos to Kirby that I found on YouTube that, at least to me, convey the essence of Kirby Puckett: