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According to this, Kirby Puckett was given his last rites. From what I’ve gathered from a phone call from my dad and some comments on Batgirl, there’s no brain activity and they’ll be taking him off of life support soon.
I feel sick to my stomach right now. It’s hard to describe. To those people who say, “But he’s just a ballplayer,” my response is that no, he was much more. He was a hero and legend to the entire state. He was such an integral part of my childhood, that I often took his existence and his heroics for granted, and I think we all did. The scandals a few years ago just proved that while the man was fallible, the legend was infallible.
There’s something about the loss of innocence and childhood and whatnot that I want to say right now, but I can’t seem to muster the words. I just don’t feel well.
Edit: Mostly for Amy and my dad, but go check these out. The Bob Casey one is particularly memorable.
Edit 2: It’s over. He’s gone.

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4 responses »

  1. Growing up in North Minneapolis in the 80’s, just five minutes from the metrodome, i dreamed of someday playing in the majors just like Kirby. I collected all his baseball cards, had his “wrecking ball” poster on my bedroom wall, and a caricature pennant on my wall…not to mention my Kirby t-shirts, autographed baseballs, etc. Like almost everyone who lived in Minnesota in the 80’s or 90’s, I just loved the guy.
    I remember calling into 830 WCCO Radio one afternoon when I was probably about 14, and getting the opportunity to ask Kirby, live on the air a question. I hoped he would be playing with the Twins for another 20 years, but the way I worded my question was, “So when are you going to retire?”
    Kirby laughed pretty hard, as did the WCCO radio hosts, and Kirby responded, “Well I hope not anytime soon!”
    I and my family got a kick of out that, we didn’t realize that in two short years he would be retiring from baseball.
    My grandma, who is diabetic and has poor vision, sat down with my aunt and uncle at a restaurant in the summer of 2002, and proceeded to begin a conversation with an african american gentleman for over an hour. She was cracking jokes, he was too, everyone was laughing. The man got up at the end of his dinner, said goodbye, and left. It was then that my uncle informed her that she had been wisecracking with Kirby Puckett. She almost fell out of her chair. He was so nice to spend his dinner conversing with an elderly lady. I won’t ever forget that.
    I was at AAA Travel the very next day, in St. Louis Park, and out of nowhere, Kirby walked right by me! I stood there stunned for a moment, then debated if I should go over to him and tell him that he had just spoken with my grandma the night before. I decided not too, I’m not sure why, but sitting here tonight, grieving the loss of my boyhood idol, I wish I would have walked over and shaken his hand.
    He was, and is a legend, and when my 2 1/2 year old son, and 5 month old daughter get to be older, I’m going to pull out all of my Kirby Puckett memorabilia, and tell them stories about my hero, #34…..Kirbeeeeeeee Pu-Kett!
    My prayers and thoughts are with his family tonight.
    Thanks Kirby for all the awesome memories.
    Nate

  2. I told Erin today that while Kirby was her first hero, he’s also my last. The joy and love he exhibited as he played the game caused me, and many like me, to love him. His off the field stuff taught me that it’s not good to put too much weight on our heroes. And that’s perhaps a lesson that in the end means more than the joy he gave as a player.
    Ultimately, the game’s the thing and never more so than when one of its great’s passes. There’s always a next season in baseball, there’ll be a new Kirby Puckett (for me it’s been Bob Allison, Rod Carew, and Kirby… sprinkled with a bit of Harmon, Zoilo, Bert, Kent, A. J., G-man and on and on). And there’ll be more, starting, I suppose, with Torii and Joe and Johann and who knows, maybe boys and girls, names yet unknown.
    But tonight I’ll add to the memories and cry a little bit as one more piece of a little boy dies.

  3. This has to be one of the saddest days for me. I was just talking about Kirby today and how he influenced my life growing up. I had no idea that he had a stroke yesterday. I was sitting today at the Astro’s vs Nationals game, sharing with a co-worker how much I looked up to him, that I read his book front to back, had a collection of his cards and begged a high school boyfriend to purchase his jersey for me. I’m completely bummed. I truly can’t explain how much he meant to me. I never had the opportunity to meet him; only see him close up at one of his last spring training games in Ft. Myers, FL. It just seems unreal to me. I, too, feel sick to my stomach. I admired him, I looked up to him…forget, “I wanna be like Mike” – I want to be like Puckett!!! What a sad day and what a loss. He may not have played ball in 10 years, but he was such a wonderful person and that memory will live on with me.

  4. Hello: Enjoyed the positive memories shared. Ran into the comments here while looking at pics of Kirby. Let me just say a few things I immediately observed… first and foremost, there is no need or way to argue with someone that wants to present the negative side of a stellar, happy, unforgettable, most memorable all-star athlete.
    On the field, Kirby was what any fan wants to see and would like to be. Off the field, that may be another story (ala SI’s Deford). We aren’t just talking about Kirby here. Those with a history of athlete bashing may go back beyond O.J., Bonds, heck, even Moon… and just think what would happen if anybody is proven guilty. Then, look at Rose. The media attention he receives annually when the Hall vote comes up is much more amazing to me than cases of what athletes do in their personal life (ex., Ruth, Cobb, what about Monroe’s husband?) There has always been interest in their personal lives because they are or were professional athletes. Not the other way around… That is where people like our pal, Glenn get seriously confused. They can’t stand to see someone care or show heartbreak over the death of million dollar players. He doesn’t think we get his point, but we do. What troubles me is he doesn’t see or respect our side. If he did, he wouldn’t write a word on this site. He’s the same guy that was picked last, never played ball in high school or beyond and doesn’t see the good in what so many of us treasure. Hard to swallow, isn’t it, Glenn? The best part of all this is you never have to worry about guys like Glenn sitting next to you at a game. They don’t go… and why he would waste his time trying to make his case here is crazy. He’s the kind of guy that is forced to go to funerals he rather not attend and then whispers all the negative things he can think of about the person laid to rest.
    Don’t let him get to you. He doesn’t know how you feel. He wasn’t there at the World Series… he never saw how Kirby reached out to kids and I did. I know what Kirby meant to the Minnesota Twins, his friends and his family. If you’ve read any headlines, you know what Kirby meant to all of baseball. I was at several events over the years that Kirby attended. The one I will share with you is this. On a Winter Caravan tour, after a jam-packed crowd had their share of autographs and pictures, there was a father and a young son remaining behind just to still “look at their idol”. This was a special moment for them. Although Kirby was still conversing with others still around him, he made a point to walk out of the group and go talk to the two fans watching from across the way. He small-talked with them as he approached and gave them memories of a life-time simply by giving them that 30 seconds of his time. The few that were there all watched… this was Kirby. Those fans left smiling ear-to-ear. Kirby had made another unforgettable moment.
    This has gone on too long and I apologize, but I can’t read negative comments like those and not have a reaction. I suppose “he” thinks Harmon Killebrew being at the hospital when Kirby was admitted was showing support for a “non-human of the year”. How disgraceful is that comment? Let me end with this. Glenn guys can say all they want… it’s too bad they don’t have the sense to find a better-suited forum. Bottom line:
    Stay off sites like this Glenn. I’m not telling you what to say or think… just use a little better judgement on where you share your views.
    This wasn’t the right place. RIP, Kirby!

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