Kirby Puckett: 1961–2006

As most everyone knows by now, Kirby Puckett died yesterday, the youngest Hall of Famer to do so since Lou Gehrig. During his career, it was hard not to be a fan of Puckett, a spark-plug with speed and power who played the game the “right way” and had an infectious smile. Post HOF-election revelations indicate he was really not the sweet and cuddly guy that his image suggested. For a Yankee fan, this leaves a particularly bitter taste, as he was a borderline Hall candidate who probably made it on his “intangibles” and “persona” while Don Mattingly, whose numbers are comparable, remains on the outside looking in (and is the real deal, persona-wise). Ironically, it was Puckett who dubbed Mattingly “Donnie Baseball.” For that, and for his wonderful play, we’ll always be thankful.

2 comments… add one

  • Leave it to a Yankees fan to turn something like Puckett’s death into a lament over Mattingly’s HoF shutout. Buy a clue, it’s not all about the Yankees all the time – despite the subject matter of this blog.
    And for the record, I happen to agree that Puckett and Mattingly were comparable players both defensively and offensively. Should either be in the HoF? Depends upon whether you feel longevity is a relevant factor. If you don’t, then they should be (along arguably with Jim Rice).
    Ciao.

    Craig March 8, 2006, 6:59 am
  • There’s no better time than right after the sad, early death of a baseball icon to get in a plug for one’s favorite Hall-snubbed Yankee. I can’t wait until Dave Winfield eats it far before his time to do a post about Jim Ed.

    SF March 8, 2006, 7:10 am

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