Center Field Suddenly Feels A Whole Lot Emptier

Kirby PuckettA tear came to my eye last night as I read of the death of Kirby Puckett, one of my childhood heroes. As a child of the ’80’s growing up on the south side of Minneapolis, there seemed no higher ideal to aspire to than the one put forth by Kirby. He always brought his all to every game, a fact attested to by his six Golden Gloves, lifetime .318 batting average and ten selections to the All-Star Game, a fact made all the more impressive in light of his unathletic physique. He rose to prominence at the beginning of the era of free agency in baseball and, though he could have made an extremely comfortable living playing for a bigger market team, he resolutely stuck with the decidedly small market Twins. He entered the league as a Twin and left it as one, a fact that didn’t escape fiercely loyal Minnesota fans. We Minnesotans might be a slow-talking, cold-nosed lot, but we know loyalty when we see it and reward it accordingly.
Although I recall many of the names and faces of the ’87 and ’91 World Champion teams – Kent “Buy A Vowel!” Hrbek, Dan Gladden, Gary Gaetti, Greg Gagne, Chilli Davis, Frank Viola and others, Kirby represented the true face of the Twins and the Metrodome’s PA ringing out announcers’ “Number 34, Kiirrrrrbyyyyy Puckeeeeetttt!” could bring fans to their feet like no other name. I attended Breck Academy with many of the Pohlad (owners of the Twins) kids and can recall myself and other schoolchildren breathlessly listening to the Pohlads recount getting to meet the players, most especially Kirby.
While his reputation has diminished in the years since his retirement, Kirby will forever remain the loyal, hardworking “Puck” in my mind. He will be missed and he is mourned. I pray that his professions of faith were genuine and I hope to see him in Heaven one day. My prayers go out to his ex-wife, his children and the rest of his family.
Thanks, Kirby, for bringing so much joy and excitement into my early years. Thanks for being so loyal, and thanks for making me proud to be a Twins fan.
(Other eulogies at Captain’s Quarters, Baseball Crank, Powerline, SCSU Scholars, Fraters Libertas, Blonde Moment and Mitch Berg. Powerline links to the appropriate Housman poem To An Athlete Dying Young. “Townsman of a stiller town” indeed.)

Default image
Doug
Husband & father with youngins; Presbyterian; Will devops for boardgames; Dadjoke Enthusiast; Longtime WordPress user; The failure mode of “clever” is...

2 Comments

  1. Kirby Puckett…
    Baseball hall of famer Kirby Puckett passed away monday at the age of 44 . A great player and a wonderful personality.
    Center field suddenly feels empty now
    Puckett in hall of fame.
    Wikipedia
    Kirby Puckett tribute at mlb.comNo Tags……

  2. […] Trackback URL for this entry:http://haloscan.com/tb/scsuscholars/114169623130807593Center Field Suddenly Feels A Whole Lot EmptierExcerpt: A tear came to my eye last night as I read of the death of Kirby Puckett, one of my childhood heroes. As a child of the '80's growing up on the south side of Minneapolis, there seemed no higher ideal to aspire to than the one put forth by Ki…Weblog: Literal BarrageTracked: 03.07.06 – 11:01 am […]

Comments are closed.