Wednesday, April 23, 2014
#200 Kirby Puckett
1. Puckett briefly worked on an assembly line for the Ford Motor Company after graduating high school, as no four-year college had offered him a baseball scholarship. After being laid off, he attended a tryout camp in Chicago and was invited to play for Bradley University by coach Dewey Kalmer.
2. Kirby's career lasted only 12 seasons, as glaucoma blinded his vision in his right eye shortly before the 1996 season. He was so popular and so successful in his abbreviated career (10-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glover, six-time Silver Slugger, 1991 ALCS MVP) that he was still elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, in his first year of eligibility.
3. On March 5, 2006, Puckett suffered a stroke; he died a day later. He was only 45 years old.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Kirby re-signed with the Twins in December 1992, but I remember reading that the Phillies made a strong push to sign him. It's still hard for me to picture him in Phillies red.
Bill James Said: "Kirby swung at the first pitch 49% of the time, the highest in the American League."
On This Date in 1993: April 23. American labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez dies at age 66 of natural causes.