Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Kirby Puckett Born
Writing these in advance of my trip to London, I had a hard time picking a topic for this day, and considered doing it about Puckett. The problem was that I only vaguely remember Kirby the ballplayer--but a lot of my audience recalls him much more clearly for --and what of Puckett I do remember -- his post-career scandals, doesn't really make for a good topic.
Now that's he's died, the whole thing become even more complicated as people try to balance their memories of Kirby the ballplayer and Kirby the man. In a lot of ways, Puckett reminds me of Thurman Munson. Their on-field demeanor could not have been more different, of course; Puckett was smiles-and-joy while Munson was grit-and-gruff. The commonality is the question of how much their on-field personalities corresponded to their actual personalities, what they were "really" like.
As I ultimately said about Munson, unless one actually knew Puckett, the most you can say is that he was a pretty damn good player (I have no problem with his place in the Hall of Fame) who died under pretty sad circumstances. The rest is just talk.