Today is truly a sad day in the world of sports. I was at work earlier when I first heard the news that Kirby Puckett had suffered a stroke over the weekend. That news wasn't too shocking since it was known he had glaucoma and strokes weren't that uncommon. A lot of people have strokes and turn out to be just fine. Unfortunately, earlier this evening I saw the news that Kirby had passed away at the very young age of 45.
It's no secret that I am no fan of baseball. Never have been and probably never will be. I will concede the fact that unlike other "sports", baseball does require significant athletic ability, even if some of the players aren't fit to play it. For me though, it's a sport that always seemed to move a little too slow.
Even people that aren't a fan of the game knew who Kirby was. In this day and age of free agency in all major sports, he was one of the last professional athletes that will forever be linked with one organization and one organization only. Till this day, if I were asked to name some Minnesota Twins. the only player I would ever be able to come up with is Kirby Puckett. He started with the Twins and retired with them, having never played for any other team.
I recall getting somewhat knowledgeable about baseball when I first noticed that something was wrong with Kirby. Near the end of his career, his left eye became noticeably smaller than the other. It looked like he was constantly preparing for a wink. It didn't become publicly known until later that he had glaucoma and that's what was causing it. That eventually forced him to retire from the game altogether.
There was never any doubt that Kirby was destined to get into the Hall of Fame. I couldn't name one other player from the Minnesota Twins' two World Series squads, but I do know that they would not have been there if it wasn't for KP.
Naturally, the worst part about this tragedy is the family he left behind. Again though, you know what I see when this type of thing happens. They're without him but they will be very well taken care of.
At any rate, he will be missed. He was the last of the steroid-free warriors. Twins baseball hasn't been the same since he left and now they will definitely never be the same again.