Kirby Puckett

Kirby Puckett
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 2001
Primary team: Minnesota Twins
Primary position: Center Fielder

Few men have played the game of baseball with the youthful enthusiasm of Kirby Puckett. His ever-present smile, leadership skills and outgoing personality made him a fan-favorite in Minnesota.

His clutch skills on the diamond made him one of the best all-around players in the game.

“Kirby Puckett is the kind of player you hope and dream that your franchise will have,” said Andy MacPhail, former general manager of the Twins. “He does everything on the field to help you win, and what he does in the clubhouse and the community is remarkable.”

Born on March 14, 1960 in Chicago, just a mile from Comiskey Park, Puckett was the youngest of nine children. An All-American third baseman in high school, Puckett received no baseball offers following graduation. After a free agent tryout, Puckett was eventually given a baseball scholar-ship and earned some recognition.

“He never had a bad day,” said former All-Star Frank Thomas. “I don’t care how bad things were going on or off the field, Kirby found a way to make you laugh... He was a breath of fresh air in this game.”

Drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1982 as the third over-all pick, Puckett began a relationship with the team he would spend his entire career with. By 1984, he was called up to the big leagues, earning four hits in his major league debut. He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting.

The six-time Gold Glove Award winner was named to 10 consecutive All-Star teams from 1986-1995 and was named MVP of the game in 1993. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting seven times during his 12-year career. He won two World Series with the Twins in 1987 and 1991. The most memorable performance of his career came in Game 6 in 1991 against the Atlanta Braves when he made a leaping catch against the fence and hit a walk-off homer in the 11th inning to force Game 7.

In 1995, Puckett’s career was cut short because of irreversible retina damage in his right eye. He finished with a .318 batting average, 414 doubles, 207 home runs and 1,085 RBIs in 1,783 games.

"I could see how much he loved playing the game of baseball. His enthusiasm rubbed off on all his teammates including me. It was fun being his teammate. "
Bert Blyleven

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Career stats

Year Inducted: 2001
Primary Team: Minnesota Twins
Position Played: Center Fielder
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Birth place: Chicago, Illinois
Birth year: 1960
Died: 2006, Phoenix, Arizona
Played for:
Minnesota Twins (1984-1995)
At BatsAB
Home RunsHR
Stolen BasesSB
Batting AverageBA
On Base %OBP
Slugging %SLG