Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

Puckett carries Twins to promised land

cropped-ball-2.jpgOCTOBER 26, 1991 | MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTAMinnesota Twins center fielder Kirby Puckett was not having a good World Series against the Atlanta Braves. The Twins were facing elimination in game 6 of the 1991 fall classic. It all changed on this date. The best way to describe it; ‘Puckett carries Twins to promised land.’

Kirby Puckett hit a triple in the first inning to drive in a run and later scored. In the third he robbed the Braves’ Ron Gant of extra bases by seeming to hang in mid-air to snag a 400-foot drive off the Plexiglas in left-center field. The future Hall-of-Famer broke a tie in the fifth with a sacrifice fly to deep center. After the Braves tied it up in the 8th, Puckett singled and stole second, but didn’t score.

Puckett’s real heroics came when the game went into extra innings. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis was packed with 51,155 frenzied fans. Puckett led off the 11th. He was facing the Braves’ Charlie Leibrandt. The count was 2-balls and 1-strike. Puckett hit the next pitch over the left field fence prompting television play-by-play man Jack Buck to say, simply, “And we’ll see you tomorrow night.”

The Twins won that game too, and won a thrilling 1991 World Series.

Contributing sources:
Still a Series to Savor

March 6 in baseball history-TOO SHORT TO FAIL

2006 | PHOENIX, ARIZONA Kirby Puckett always tried to look on the bright side, which would have helped his family, friends and fans when he died on this date in 2006. The former Minnesota Twins outfielder and member of the Hall of Fame suffered a massive brain hemorrhage the previous day, and died after surgery to relieve the pressure.

Puckett probably would have said something like, “It was a short life (45 years), but a fulfilling one.” This is what Puckett (5′ 8″ 210 lbs) actually did say when he was forced to retire in 1996 after waking up one morning blind in one eye, “I was told I would never make it because I’m too short. Well, I’m still too short, but I’ve got 10 All-Star Games, two World Series championships, and I’m a very happy and contented guy.

It doesn’t matter what your height is, it’s what’s in your heart.”

Kirby Puckett was born Chicago and raised in the Robert Taylor Homes, at the time, the largest public housing project in the country and one of the most notorious; infested with drugs, gangs and crime. But Kirby make it out, attending Bradley University for a short time where he was an all-conference outfielder as a freshman. He transferred to Triton Junior College outside Chicago and was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1982 draft, after his hometown Cubs passed him up. He finished his 12-year career with a lifetime .318 average, and despite a shortened career finished with over 2,000 hits and 1,000 RBI’s.

Puckett’s pristine, community-conscious image took hit after he was forced to retire. His former wife accused him of threatening her, and he was accused (and acquitted) of groping a woman in a Twin Cities restaurant. As time went on he gained a tremendous amount of weight, ballooning to well over 300 lbs, which likely lead to his hypertension and contributed to his death.

Contributing sources:
Kirby Puckett – Baseball-Almanac
1982 Amateur Draft – mlb.com

 

Jan 4, 2002 – WILL THERE BE A TEAM?

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA The Minnesota Twins hired Ron Gardenhire as their new manager on this day in baseball history, even though they weren’t sure there would be a team to manage by the time opening day 2002 rolled around. Gardenhire replaced manager Tom Kelly who retired.

Whether Gardenhire would have a team to manage was in question because Major League Baseball owners voted November 6, 2001 to eliminate two franchises – most likely the Minnesota Twins and Montreal Expos – because of their low revenue and inability to get new stadium deals.

As it turned out the Minnesota Twins got a new stadium deal and remain in Minneapolis. Montreal did not get a stadium deal. The Expos franchise left Montreal for Washington, D. C. in 2005 and became the Washington Nationals.

Contributing Sources:
ESPN, (AP-Associated Press), “Twins spared through 2003 in lawsuit settlement
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), January 5, 2002