Kirby Puckett spent his entire 12-year baseball career playing with the Minnesota Twins (1984–1995), and is the franchise's all-time leader in career hits, runs, doubles, and total bases. A 10-time All Star, Puckett was the fourth baseball player during the 20th century to record 1,000 hits in his first five full calendar years in Major League Baseball, and was the second to record 2,000 hits during his first ten full calendar years.At the time of his retirement, his .318 career batting average was the highest by any right-handed American League batter since Joe DiMaggio. After being forced to retire at age 35 due to loss of vision in one eye from a central retinal vein occlusion, Puckett was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, his first year of eligibility. Tragically, he would pass away on March 6, 2006, after suffering a stroke.
I completed the following sketch cards in August 2012.
10 random facts about Kirby Puckett:
- In Puckett's Major League debut against the California Angels on May 8, 1984, he went 4 for 5 with a run.
- He was the 1989 American League batting champion.
- He won the 1991 ALCS MVP, en route to leading the Twins to their second World Series title.
- In 1993, he won the Branch Rickey Award for his community service efforts.
- He won the 1996 Roberto Clemente Award for his status as a humanitarian and ambassador to the game.
- He had his jaw broken by a Dennis Martinez fastball on September 28, 1995.
- A stellar outfielder, Puckett won 6 Gold Glove Awards during his career.
- Immediately after his retirement, the Twins made him an executive vice president.
- His jersey number 34 was retired by the Twins in 1997.
- On April 12, 2010, a statue of Puckett was unveiled at the plaza of Target Field in Minneapolis; the statue represents Puckett pumping his fist while running the bases, as he did after his winning home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series.