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Kirby Puckett has died

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According to TSN.ca:

Hall of Famer Puckett dead at 44

Associated Press

3/6/2006 5:32:22 PM

Hall of Fame outfielder Kirby Puckett died Monday after having surgery for a stroke.

The 44-year-old 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.

He remained in intensive care at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Kimberly Lodge said. Puckett was moved there after surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.

"Tough day," former Twins manager Tom Kelly said Monday at the team's training camp in Fort Myers, Fla.

The club was in Bradenton for an exhibition game against Pittsburgh, but manager Ron Gardenhire stayed behind with star centre fielder Torii Hunter, who took himself out of the lineup before Sunday's game against Boston after hearing the news.

As players and coaches worked out in Fort Myers, the mood was sombre.

"Our mind isn't on the ballfield. It's on Kirby," said former outfielder Tony Oliva, who like Kelly is a special instructor during spring training.

Puckett was once a guest coach, too, after he retired in 1996, but he hasn't worked for the team since 2002. He has kept a low profile since being cleared of assault charges in 2003, when he was accused of groping a woman at a suburban Twin Cities restaurant.

Puckett has remained close with several people in the Twins organization, and he was one of baseball's most popular players throughout his 12-year career.

"I don't know where I would have ended up if it weren't for Kirby Puckett," Kelly said. "He was not just a great ballplayer. He was a great friend. Everybody is taking it hard."

Oakland third base coach Ron Washington, a former teammate, spent Sunday at the hospital with Puckett, his fiancee, his agent and others. Washington said he saw Puckett, who has two children, go into the operating room. Puckett is engaged to be married this summer.

"I've known him since 1984. We talk every so often. We're close. He's a strong guy, a fighter and I want to think the best," Washington said. "We all know the bad part, but I don't believe in the bad."

After his career ended, Puckett put on a considerable amount of weight - which concerned those close to him.

"We would tell him. But he enjoyed life. He enjoyed the size he was. That's who he was," former Twins and current Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones said Sunday at the team's spring training site in Mesa, Ariz.

"You can't do anything about it until he decides to change. Hopefully, he'll pull through this, and it'll be like a call for him to change some things in his life."

Puckett, who broke in with Minnesota in 1984, had a career average of .318 and carried the Twins to championships in 1987 and 1991. Glaucoma forced the six-time Gold Glove centre fielder and 10-time all-star to retire when he went blind in his right eye.

Perhaps the most popular athlete to ever play in Minnesota, Puckett was the talk of the town around the Twin Cities area.

"The whole thing has taken me by shock," said Joel Davis, the manager of a Twins memorabilia shop in Roseville.

Davis said he fielded questions from concerned fans about Puckett's condition throughout the day.

"It's hard to get a grip on it," he said. "You've just got to hope for a miracle."

Sue Chad, a customer at the store, said she and her husband named their dog Kirby.

"We saw him as someone the other players could get behind _ just holding up the energy of the team," said Chad, who fondly recalled Puckett's 11th-inning homer to win Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta in a frenzied Metrodome.

http://tsn.ca/mlb/news_story/?ID=157413&hubname=

----

Rest In Peace. :pray::saddevil:

Edited by RD

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why do bad things have to happen to good people. what a damn shame. RIP.

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I remember when I was younger, I used to collect Kirby Puckett cards. Even though I wasn't really a baseball fan, I LOVED Puckett. Man, I can't believe he's gone. He was such an incredible individual, class act all the way.

It's sad, it really is. His baseball career was cut too short and now his life as well...wow. :(

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Me and my good friend went to Cooperstown to be there when Dave Winfield was inducted into the HOF...and that was also the year for Kirby Puckett. I was amazed at the amount of people from Minnesota and all over the country that made the trip to be there for Kirby, and talking to several different Twins fans, to hear their stories and memories of either meeting Puckett in person and seeing him play was a joy to hear.

Kirby's speech was great and was a great day all around.

Another story about Puckett: In 1995, my friend and I were walking on 42nd street during the day...and out of NOWHERE....walking as just another person...there was Kirby Puckett...being that I have always been a big Puckett fan...I was stunned and yelled "Hey Kirby!!!" and Kirby saw me and quickly ducked into some jewerly store or something like that....I was just hoping to shake the man's hand and tell him what a great baseball player and ambassador of the game he was that's all, but I did not push the issue after that...

I do not know what else to say...a lot of great sports athletes come and go...but when guys like Walter Payton, Reggie White, and Kirby Puckett leave this Earth all too soon, it really stings.

RIP Kirby.

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Very sad..best wishes to his family and friends

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That is of extremely poor taste. Not cool SC.

Ya but if you have read what he did, he wasn't an angel and im not going to say he was that great of a person cause he had good baseball stats.

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Ya but if you have read what he did, he wasn't an angel and im not going to say he was that great of a person cause he had good baseball stats.

I know what he did, but this isn't the time nor place. He just died. You don't have to say he's a great person, but you don't have to make comments like you did.

Edited by RD

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I know what he did, but this isn't the time nor place. He just died. You don't have to say he's a great person, but you don't have to make comments like you did.

Sorry if it offended anyone but it's the first thing I thought off when I read the thread.

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Kirby may not have been perfect, but no one is. I feel really bad for his family and friends. Its kinda weird because I grew up as a little kid watching him and I am still young and he is dead. RIP Kirby.

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Kirby may not have been perfect, but no one is. I feel really bad for his family and friends. Its kinda weird because I grew up as a little kid watching him and I am still young and he is dead. RIP Kirby.

RIP. It was unfortunate reading the SI article that came out a few years ago about Kirby because the things he did were some of the most disturbing things I have ever heard. I really hope he got his act together before he died because he might have never had the chance to fix his mistakes.

Edited by devilsrule33

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I remember when I was younger, I used to collect Kirby Puckett cards. Even though I wasn't really a baseball fan, I LOVED Puckett. Man, I can't believe he's gone. He was such an incredible individual, class act all the way.

It's sad, it really is. His baseball career was cut too short and now his life as well...wow. :(

Me too. I still have some including 2 rookie cards. Puckett was one of my favorite players. I loved how hard he worked at the plate and in the field. The classic overachiever. Only 5-6 and look what he accomplished.

10 times out of 12 years an All-Star. And a world champion. He was the epitome of what a ballplayer should have been. I am saddened by this.

RIP Kirby Puckett :(:evilcry:

You'll be missed.

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I read about this the other day, and I'm still in shock about this. Kirby Puckett will be missed. RIP Kiriby :(

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