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Kirby Puckett Suffers A Stroke

Discussion in 'Sports Talk' started by Pinababy69, Mar 6, 2006.

    Mar 6, 2006
  1. Pinababy69

    Pinababy69 RIP Lisa

    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    PHOENIX (AP) - Kirby Puckett was listed in critical condition early Monday after surgery for a stroke, and the Minnesota Twins asked fans to pray for the Hall of Fame outfielder.

    Puckett, who led the Twins to two World Series championships before his career was cut short by glaucoma, was stricken Sunday at his Arizona home.

    A nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, who declined to give her full name, said early Monday the 44-year-old Puckett was in critical condition. She did not provide additional details.

    Puckett had surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn on Sunday, the Twins said from their spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., and was later moved to St. Joseph's.

    "The Minnesota Twins and major league baseball ask fans to keep Kirby and his family in their thoughts and prayers,'' the team said earlier in a statement.

    Ron Shapiro, who was Puckett's agent, said he had been in contact with Puckett's family Sunday.

    "We're all praying for his recovery,'' Shapiro said.

    "The doctors said that if he has good luck, he'll be all right. You have to keep the faith,'' former manager Tom Kelly said.

    Twins center fielder Torii Hunter sat out Minnesota's exhibition game against the Red Sox after learning of Puckett's stroke.

    Said manager Ron Gardenhire: "Our hearts and our prayers are all with Puck. We know it's a tough situation out there.''

    Puckett, who broke in with Minnesota in 1984, had a career batting average of .318 and carried the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991.

    Glaucoma forced the Gold Glove center fielder and 10-time All-Star to retire in 1996 after 12 seasons with the Twins when he went blind in one eye.

    Three years ago, he was cleared of assault charges after being accused of groping a woman at a Twin Cities restaurant.

    Puckett has maintained relationships with many people in the Twins' organization. The team tried unsuccessfully to get him to come to spring training as a special instructor this year, something he hasn't done since 2002.

    Another former Twins great, Tony Oliva, a special instructor during spring training, said he has been worried about Puckett's weight.

    "The last few times I saw him, he kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger,'' Oliva said. "And we worried about him. I saw him about five months ago. He always tries to invite me. He says, `Come to Arizona, and we'll play some golf.'''

    Puckett is divorced and has two children.

    I'm no baseball afficionado like JohnSteed and some others here, but I do remember him playing, and if memory serves correctly...he was a pretty awesome hitter.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2006
  2. Mar 6, 2006
  3. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister



    He sure was. Similar to Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn, always hovering around 200 hits per season. But what made him greater than either one of them, was his power. Actually (and I'm stealing this from ESPN's very own Roy Neyer's "Big Book Of Baseball Lineups" here), he was the best "bad-ball hitter" of his time. I'd have to think that Vladimir Guerrero is the best (or worst... depending on how you look at it I guess) "bad-ball hitter" in the now.

    Puckett was an exceptionally gifted center-fielder, having won 6 Gold Gloves. He covered so much ground, and actually, despite being short, it probably gave him an edge (certainly while he was at the plate). Stocky and strong.

    Although some have come to think that Puckett was overrated (he was a 1st-ballot with fellow HOFer Dave Winfield), had it not been for going blind in one eye (if memory serves me correctly), he was still at the peak of his career and probably could have played a few more above-average years. He was coming off an exceptionally (and routinely) good (not great) campaign. He was a 5-tool player, in which he could run, throw, hit, field, and do so with power. Although he didn't reach 3,000 hits, he was most certainly on path to reaching that milestone.

    Puckett should be glorified in Minnesota, because he's one of the major reasons any TWINS team could have ever reached the World Series (winning it both times, in '87 and again in '91).

    Side note: If you don't know what "bad-ball hitter" means, it's about a hitter who makes a habit of chasing balls that are thrown out of the strike-zone. Barry Bonds, on the other hand, will ONLY crush something if it's in the zone. Thus, while a selective pitcher will gain a ton of walks, someone like Puckett generally won't get much more than 65 walks per season. Puckett could nail the balls that were thrown low (that were about even with his ankles), and whip them into fair-ground for a double. He might not have walked much, but he was a tough out nevertheless.


    1 person likes this.
  4. Mar 6, 2006
  5. Pinababy69

    Pinababy69 RIP Lisa

    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Thank you JohnSteed!! I knew that I could count on you to elaborate for me, lol. How do you remember all this stuff? And you're right about going blind in one eye...it was glaucoma. I remember the Twins second World Series win against the Braves...they won every home game. That was the 90/91 season...and the very next year was when the Blue Jays (yay) won for the first time. And again the next season (yay again). That's back when I actually used to follow baseball. Used to go to games all the time, I've probably seen Puckett play although I don't remember now.

    And one of these days those Leafs will win a Stanley Cup, lol. Hopefully in this lifetime.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Mar 6, 2006
  7. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister


    I sure loved those Blue Jay teams.

    In fact, I'd have to say that those two World Series championship teams were the best that I've seen in ages. I know how dominant that the Yankees have been (and certainly were in the mid-late '90s), and no one could ever discredit what Bobby Cox (former Jay's skipper... hmmm, like they couldn't have kept him around for another season :rolleyes: ) has done with the Atlanta Braves, but really, those Blue Jay teams were electric (and loaded).

    Neither one of those Blue Jays teams won 100 games in the regular season, but they knew how to win close games. Alomar was so young and brilliant at that time (why did he fade SOOOOO quickly after he went to the METS... he was amazing with the Indians prior to that), Joe Carter (while not as great of a hitter as I once thought) was always clutch and capable of driving-in a ton of runners, Devon White played the best defense I've ever seen any baseball player play (say for Ozzie Smith), John Olerud especially in his coup-de-gras '93 season (where he was batting .400 up until mid-summer), Dave Winfield was huge that first year, and Molitor and then Rickey Henderson came in to do a stellar job (well, moreso with Molitor... though Rickey had some moments), they even got Tony Fernandez (great underrated player) back in '93. Sure, Kelly Gruber was already fading quickly, Candy Maldonado would hit 20 HR and not do much else. Manny Lee was a dog with very few tricks, and Pat Borders had the fluckiest of World Series as you're going to see, but most of those guys came up big when necessary. Forget about the hitters though, it was really the DEEP pitching that made those teams go.

    Tom Henke was lights-out at that time, and he had Duane Ward as his set-up man (and as awesome as Henke was at that time, Duane Ward may have even been better). Phenomenal 1-2 punch. Maybe better than Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland, when they were together in the late '90s. The greatest Jays pitcher was barely playing at that time, Dave Stieb. They still had Jimmy Key, Jack Morris (who quite frankly sucked despite winning 20 games in '92), Dave Steward, Juan Guzman (like a slightly cheaper version of Pedro Martinez at that time), Todd Stottlemyer, Pat Hentgen when he was first coming up, David Wells (when he was generally still coming out of the bullpen... although he may have been a starter around that time), Mark Eichhorn, Mike Timlin, Al Leiter, Woody Williams, and eventually got David Cone (although it cost them JEFF KENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

    Those teams were also loaded in the front office. Pat Gillick was the GM, Paul Beeston (who was a major player amongst the heads of MLB, right under Bud Selig for a while there...) was the President, and Gord Ash was still the assistant GM. Actually, while most people want to blame the New York Yankees for spending too much money on free agents, it was actually the Blue Jays of that era that were always trying to make too big of a splash. It certainly worked for them, but it hurt the rest of the league for years to come (and for the forseable future).

    Funny that you should mention the Twins that won the '91 World Series. I remember being REALLY ticked-off that the Jays couldn't knock them out in the Championship series. I watched them every game that year, and there was no reason why couldn't have knocked-off the eventual champions.

    Great memories of those teams.


  8. Mar 7, 2006
  9. Pinababy69

    Pinababy69 RIP Lisa

    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Well JohnSteed, I had originally been coming here to reply to your post about those amazing Blue Jays of 91-93, but then I saw this. I'll reply to that later.

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    MINNEAPOLIS Kirby Puckett died Monday, a day after the Hall of Fame outfielder had a stroke at his Arizona home. He was 45.

    Puckett died at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. He had been in intensive care since having surgery at another hospital following his stroke Sunday morning.

    The bubbly, barrel-shaped Puckett carried the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991 before his career was cut short by glaucoma. His family, friends and former teammates gathered at the hospital Monday.

    Puckett was given last rites and died in the afternoon, hospital spokeswoman Kimberly Lodge said.

    "On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am terribly saddened by the sudden passing of Kirby Puckett," commissioner Bud Selig said. "He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the term.

    "He played his entire career with the Twins and was an icon in Minnesota. But he was revered throughout the country and will be remembered wherever the game is played. Kirby was taken from us much too soon and too quickly," he said.

    Puckett broke into the majors in 1984 and had a career batting average of .318. Glaucoma left the six-time Gold Glove center fielder and 10-time All-Star with no choice but to retire after the 1995 season when he went blind in his right eye.

    Out of the game, the 5-foot-8 Puckett put on a considerable amount of weight, which concerned those close to him.

    "It's a tough thing to see a guy go through something like that and come to this extent," former teammate Kent Hrbek said Monday night.

    "That's what really hurt him bad, when he was forced out of the game," he said. "I don't know if he ever recovered from it."

    Asked what he would remember the most from their playing days, Hrbek quickly answered, "Just his smile, his laughter and his love for the game."

    Puckett was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first try in 2001 and thrilled the crowd in Cooperstown when he said, "I'm telling you, anything is possible" during his induction speech.

    His plaque praised his "ever-present smile and infectious exuberance."

    "This is a sad day for the Minnesota Twins, Major League Baseball and baseball fans everywhere," Twins owner Carl Pohlad said.

    Puckett's signature performance came in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta. After telling anyone who would listen before the game that he would lead the Twins to victory that night at the Metrodome, he made a leaping catch against the fence and then hit a game-ending homer in the 11th inning to force a seventh game.

    The next night, Minnesota's Jack Morris went all 10 innings to outlast John Smoltz and pitch the Twins to a 1-0 win for their second championship in five years.

    "If we had to lose and if one person basically was the reason you never want to lose but you didn't mind it being Kirby Puckett. When he made the catch and when he hit the home run you could tell the whole thing had turned," Smoltz said Monday night.

    "His name just seemed to be synonymous with being a superstar," the Braves' pitcher said. "It's not supposed to happen like this."

    Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk echoed Smoltz's sentiment.

    "There was no player I enjoyed playing against more than Kirby. He brought such joy to the game. He elevated the play of everyone around him," Fisk said in a statement to the Hall.

    Puckett's birthdate was frequently listed as March 14, 1961, but recent research by the Hall of Fame indicated he was born a year earlier

    A sad day for baseball fans, and a reminder of our own mortality. 45 is way too young...and not that much older than myself.
  10. Mar 7, 2006
  11. Westland Bowl

    Westland Bowl Tin Foil Hat Club Member CAG PABnonaccred

    not applicable
    Sad day indeed. I remember being infuriated with Puckett for being so consistent and coming through crucial hits for the Twins in games against the Detroit Tigers. :mad: I forgotten that Jack Morris went to the Twins.:eek:

    But the glaucoma and stroke incidents makes me wonder if Kirby suffered from severe diabetes? :confused: I've seen nothing in the press that addresses the causes of Kirby's medical conditions. Ultimately, it was the medical industry that did him in.

    Nevertheless, Kirby was a very good ball player but too young to die.
  12. Mar 13, 2006
  13. cipher

    cipher Banned member - being a jerk

    K.P played his early ball here in Visalia with the Visalia Oaks and even back then he was always working for the various charitable events like Valley Childrens Hospital and yes he was one hell of a hitter then as well.

    He'll be missed by many.

    Have a good one.

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