Kirby Puckett dies after stroke--posted by Tony Garcia on 3/06/2006
Kirby Puckett died today.
On the day Kirby Puckett retired from baseball, he tried reassuring everyone that the sadness of losing sight in his right eye wouldn't diminish the spirit fans had seen him show for 12 seasons in a Twins uniform.Rest in peace...the player that was never booed.
Puckett rose from a Chicago housing project and became a Minnesota sports icon, bursting onto the scene as a rookie in 1984 with an energetic style and an effervescent smile, each all his own.
He led the Twins to the World Series in 1987 and 1991, leaping into walls as their center fielder and swinging with a might that belied his stocky, 5-8 frame.
He often said he played every game as if it were his last, and sure enough, on March 28, 1996, Puckett awoke with blurred vision in his right eye.
He never played again. He was diagnosed with glaucoma and retired on July 12, 1996.
For the next five years, Puckett remained a smiling fixture on the Minnesota scene, working as an executive vice president for the Twins in an ambassadorial role.
In 2001, he became a first-ballot inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 2,304 career hits, 10 All-Star selections and six Gold Glove Awards.