This blog isn’t about today’s Cubs spring training game, because of the passing of Kirby Puckett. The Chicago native helped the Minnesota Twins win two World Series Championships, was one of the best right-handed hitters of his era, and was a first-ballot inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame. His irrepressible personality drew teammates and fans to him throughout his career, which was cut short due to damage to his right retina caused by Glaucoma. Having many family members and friends who live in the state of Minnesota, I can attest that Kirby was indeed legend up in those parts.
Kirby had gained alot of weight, and had been having some tough times in recent years. That’s not the way I will remember him.
I was lucky enough to meet Kirby when he was the National Spokesperson for the “Don’t be Blindsided” by Glaucoma campaign that came to HoHoKam Stadium in spring of 1998. We talked one-on-one about many things including his career and his strong belief in helping people get screened, and learn about the dangers of Glaucoma. Later I interviewed him on camera, and he said the highlights of his baseball career were the World Series Championships. I remembered something he had said years earlier about how he wanted to open up a car wash when he retired and yes, that he was going to help wash the cars himself. At the end of the interview I asked him about how the car wash business was going, and he laughed- I guess because I remembered. He said no, he hadn’t gotten around to doing that, but someday he still might. He added “right now, I’m just enjoying life, and am grateful for all the good things that have come my way.”
We will miss you Kirby!