Life / Sports / March 8, 2013

Heroes May Die, But Their Memories Live On

From my weekly article at Worldmag.com:

photo credit: BaseballBacks via photopin cc

Four dollars and a four-block walk. That’s all it took for me to go a Minnesota Twins baseball game growing up. I’d buy a general admission ticket to the upper deck and then sneak down to the lower deck. Truly there was one main reason I wanted to go watch baseball in the unnatural Teflon bubble of Minneapolis’ Metrodome: Kirby Puckett, the teddy bear-looking (and shaped), rifle-armed center fielder who patrolled the outfield Astroturf for the Twins.

Kirby was all effort and smiles. For a short, chubby kid living in the shadow of the stadium there wasn’t another choice—Kirby Puckett was the perfect baseball hero. He had personality, skill, hustle, and he won. I imitated his high leg-kick swing playing Whiffle ball in the backyard and chugged my stumpy legs to first base on the dirt field at Elliot Park just like he did. Kirby wasn’t a mere ballplayer; he was an icon. He was an entire chapter of my childhood.

Sitting at my desk at work, a year out of college, I saw the news of Kirby’s death from a hemorrhagic stroke at his home in Arizona, and I cried. I had to go to the men’s room to pull myself together so I could keep working. A part of my childhood had died. He was a week shy of 46. I was three weeks shy of 23. That was seven years ago, last Wednesday.

Read the full article HERE.




3 Comments

Mar 09, 2013

Great article. I remember watching Kirby play. He was larger than life to me as a kid. I’m a musician so I felt the same way when I heard of Johnny Cash passing away. He was the most influential mentor I never met. He never met his student. I owe my guitar styling to him. Thanks Barnabas.


Mar 09, 2013

I wept the day Kirby passed as well. I still tear up when I see footage of his most memorable home run or hear the track of Jon Gordon saying, “Touch em all, Kirby Puckett! Touch em all!” I too am thankful for the sweet memories brought back when I think of Puckett and those years with the Twins. I grew up listening to Twins games in our family dairy barn while doing chores with my brothers and dad, so I think those great baseball memories meld with that precious time in my life. I think I’ll always feel like a little kid when the name Kirby Puckett is mentioned.


Mar 09, 2013

It is amazing his ability to bring us back to childhood. Thanks for commenting. It’s great to share the enjoyment of memories like those of Kirby.



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