This is sad news:

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, the buoyant, barrel-shaped outfielder with the perpetual smile who led the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles in a five-year span, died Monday at an Arizona hospital.

Puckett, whose weight gain in recent years had concerned friends and former teammates, died after suffering a stroke early Sunday at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 45.

He wasn’t the best baseball player in the world (he was, frankly, a bit overrated), and he had some demons in his personal life, but he was more fun to watch play than just about anyone in the game at the time. I was ten when he debuted in the majors, and he was one of a handful of stars that carried me through my teenage years as a baseball fan.

If you love the game, you don’t forget the stars of your childhood. Kirby Puckett was one of them, and he will be missed. RIP.

25 Responses

  1. Philip

    Puckett overrated? He was great.
    Derek Jeter is overrated!

  2. Darren

    Kirby’s career average was .318
    He scored over 1,000 runs in his career.
    Kirby also had over 1,000 rbi in his career. Oh yeah, did anyone see his performance in the World Series? Overrated? Far from it.

  3. Philip

    Man, I’m so glad you know what nicknames Kirby came up with….he may or may not have also coined the phrase,
    “Good catch”, and or “Two down”.

  4. Chad

    Yep, overrated. First, you have to understand that batting average is, without a doubt, the most overrated statistic used by anyone. It’s almost meaningless in any serious discussion about the merits of baseball players. (Here’s a shorthand explanation of why that is the case.)

    Anyway, Puckett’s career OPS is a fairly pedestrian 837. His on-base percentages were remarkably low for a supposed Hall of Famer, and he didn’t make up for it with much in the way of slugging percentage either.

    According to Baseball Reference, the most similar players to Puckett are Don Mattingly, Cecil Cooper, Carl Furillo, Garret Anderson, and Kiki Cuyler. Not exactly first-tier Hall of Famers there; just pretty good players.

    By nearly any measure, Puckett is one of the least-deserving Hall of Famers that have been inducted. However, he is considered by most casual fans to be one of the best (look at the stats you quoted to me).

    Now, I didn’t want to be negative about Puckett. He was a very good player, and as I mentioned above, he was one of my favorites. Saying that he is overrated doesn’t detract from the fact that he was still an excellent baseball player — he just wasn’t as good as people thought.

  5. darren

    So you don’t think Don Mattingly is a hall of famer? How can you say that batting average is meanningless? What does that make Ted Williams? Meanningless? I don’t think Puckett is in the same class as a Griffey or a Mantle. Probably not even the hall of fame. Saying that he was overrated though is just bogus. He was an all-star for a reason.

  6. Chad

    1. No, Don Mattingly is nowhere near a Hall of Famer. The only way Mattingly should get in the Hall of Fame is if he buys a ticket.

    2. Read my post, specifically the link I provided. If you still don’t understand why batting average is next to meaningless, come back and I’ll be more specific.

    3. I’m not sure what the Ted Williams comparison means. Ted Williams was a great hitter — across the board. He didn’t have lowly OBP’s like Puckett; he didn’t have middling SLG’s like Puckett.

    4. Re-read my post. I said that Puckett was a very good player. I never criticized him. I just said he wasn’t as good as most people think he was. That’s just a fact, plain and simple. It doesn’t mean he was a bad player, and I’m not sure why you’re so defensive about that.

  7. Philip

    I agree with Darrenm finally someone else who I can listen to their opinion and not laugh myself oit of my chair.
    By the way, batting average is obviously not meaningless and the fact you even said that is so freaking laughable. Any serious baseball discussion I suppose should go through such high standards as yours and your aps-ops-qr7fd percentage.
    I played ball for a whole lot of years, and played it well enough to play college ball…believe me, batting average matters…unless your just a blogger.

  8. Darren

    Ok I read the post. First off, retarded. Second anyone who has played baseball knows that it is more than luck getting a hit. If that article was written by someone like Joe Morgan I might buy it, but a fantasy geek just doesn’t cut it for me.

  9. Philip

    Another thing, the fact that you sit around and read “Baseball Reference” is comedic. How much time do you have on your hands?
    You say that by any measure Puckett is one of the least deserving hall of famers out there. Apaarently not to actual baseball people who can vote. He didn’t get in on just “likability”…ywo words…”first ballot”.

  10. Darren

    Oh yeah..first thing comes to your mind when someone says Ted Williams, .400 average, not his homeruns..his average. What a lucky guy

  11. Philip

    Darren, you might be the smartest guy on here…besides me. I wish the rest of the bloggers would realize that the fat one eyed Pucket who just passed away could probably still out hit half the guys in the majors now…especially our own Reds!!!

  12. Chad

    Well, I can’t respond to any of those last five comments. Brilliant! :mrgreen:

  13. Philip

    First thing thta comes to computer geeks minds is what is his ops-rdf-fdr-jfk avg and percentage. Ever heard the quote statistics are for losers. Thats what these new stats are, ways for losers to make themselves look better.
    Puckett was a winner, 2 rings on those chubby fingers of his.

  14. Philip

    I never mentioned Williams, I;m not that dumb. The ring comment is for all the Puckett is overrated people.
    And SCOTT SCUDDER RULES!!

  15. Darren

    Kirby is a winner because he is a winner of 2 world series AND he is a great player. You are the one that said Williams is a loser because average means nothin. You make about as much sense as your lucky hit theory.

  16. Philip

    Apparently anyone who has followed this blog knows that someone put down Batting avg., someone said Puckett was overrated, and this all got confused.
    The emohasis on Pucketts 2 rings was made by me…Puckett was “the man” on those championship teams. Jack Morris doesn’t pitch the best game 7 ever, without Puckett’s game 6.
    I don’t think Darren was saying Ted Williams was only known for his average, but made a point to the guys who put avg. down that when you think of the “Splendid Splinter” more times than not the .400 avg. comes up.
    Williams was great, so was Puckett.

  17. Ken

    Some of you need to wake up. Yes, average is important, but not as much as not making an out and getting runs across the board. That’s why OBP and SLG (OPS) is the better gauge of performance.

    Baseball and the people who intelligently follow it have moved past Avg/HR/RBI. If you’re going to disparage newer metrics or anything else that challenges how you think as just for “geeks” and “bloggers,” go somewhere else.

  18. Philip

    Go somewhere else…need a tissue or what? Sorry I don’t watch and follow baseball as “intelligently” as you guys…I just played it forever, know the ins and outs, and can givea perspectuve that people who always wished they could play can’t.
    But if you’re still mad about getting pick last for years in gym class, maybe I’ll leave you guys to your OBP and OPS…or your “intelligently, well thought, techinical, and absolutely perfect” opinions.

  19. Philip

    Go somewhere else…need a tissue or what? Sorry I don’t watch and follow baseball as “intelligently” as you guys…I just played it forever, know the ins and outs, and can givea perspectuve that people who always wished they could play can’t.
    But if you’re still mad about getting pick last for years in gym class, maybe I’ll leave you guys to your OBP and OPS…or your “intelligently, well thought, techinical, and absolutely perfect” opinions. Maybe I’ll go look at all the ballfields I actually played on and find my brain.
    Sorry I can’t be a part of your cool club!

  20. Philip

    One more thing, “getting runs across is important”, that’s what your depth of baseball knowledge said, just before you said smart people have moved beyond rbi’s. Man I do wish I was as smart as you!!!
    Gotta GO, HOPEFULLY NEVER HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN!!!!! Don’t worry you won’t hear from me, so don’t lose sleep trying to figure out one of your witty 5th grade comebacks.

  21. Josy

    Give me your fifty…and then some.

    My guess is you were never able to even catch a ball, and still have a plastic Dollar general glove to play slow pitch softball with.

  22. Ken

    Yes, please pass the tissues Philip. Look, I have no problem at all when people disagree with me. But you certainly do. For whatever reason, you feel the need to deride and insult someone who posts something as innocuous as “batting average is overrated.” And you don’t even have the decency to offer a good reason – because you played in college, you know better than anyone else here. How is that supposed to convince anyone? THINK before you post. And don’t worry, I won’t post any grade school comebacks, your BS about who was picked when in gym class speaks volumes about you.

  23. Joe

    It’s sad of Kirby’s passing, he created a lot of wonderful memories and help gave us 2 world series. I saw on the news yesterday a cool painting of Kirby is being made, not sure it might be for the Twins.
    It was sure great to watch him play always so excited and giving 100%, thanks Kirby for the memories.
    Life Size Painting of Kirby Puckett