March 13, 2006
Thoughts on the Puckett Memorial
I went to the Puckett Memorial last night. Like many of you, because of the snow coming I thought I would just watch it on TV, but I'm really glad I went. It was a beautiful ceremony complete with lauging and tears. I choked up when Andy MacPhail started to choke up, and I shed a few tears when John Gordon introduced Kirby's kids. Man that must be hard.
All of the speeches were wonderful, but I especially enjoyed Cal Ripken's, Harmon Killebrew's, and Kent Hrbek's. Ripken described his first meeting with Kirby and how Kirby talked his, and Eddie Murray's, ear off for 15 minutes during a one-sided conversation before finally letting Cal and Eddie go on their way. Cal then jokingly revealed that Kirby talked them right out of their chance to take BP before their game. Who knows if that was Kirby's true intent, but I wouldn't be surprised.
As the papers have already described, Hrbek talked about how God must have needed a 3 hitter and that He took Kirby too soon. Hrbek also said that during their time as Twins, most of the animals, dogs and cats, in Minnesota were named Kirby. But if anyone ever had a horse or a cow in Minnesota they named it Herbie. That got a big laugh.
I would have to say that the Killer got the biggest ovation last night. That was special to see and I think he was touched by it. But his lamenting on how Kirby will no longer be able to sing at his funeral was heart-breaking.
I brought my older son with me to the ceremony. He saw Kirby play when he was younger, but of course has no recollection of him, or any of the other old-time Twins that were sitting on the field. He still said he was glad he went. I think he could see how choked up I was.
So, after the ceremony walking back to the car I tried to explan what Kirby meant to me and the state of Minnesota. I told him about how Kirby never left Minnesota, and how rare it is for a baseball player to play their entire career for one team. I described to him my freshman year in college during the 1991 World Series, and I how I don't think I have ever hugged that many people at once after Kirby hit that game 6 home run. I told him about dancing in the streets into the wee hours of the morning in Moorhead after game 7, and how Twins baseball has given me lifelong friends and memories I'll never forget.
I told him that I hope he will have his own Kirby Puckett, and his own memories of Minnesota on top, because I have never seen this state so happy and so in tune with each other since that magical 1991 season.
My son just smiled at me, and laughed at my stories, and let me ramble on until we got home. It was good to get it all off my chest. And while it would have been nice to see the Metrodome packed last night, 20,000 people gave Kirby a really nice send-off and it hopefully gave the organization and the current Twins players a nice bit of closure. Gardy promised us all Kirby-style baseball this year full of hustle and hard work. Because of last night, I honestly feel better now, and I am very excited for another season of Twins baseball.
Posted by snackeru at March 13, 2006 8:00 AM | Twins
Thanks for the wrap-up. I would have liked to go, but I was in Florida. And even if I were in Minnesota I probably couldn't have made the drive with the weather. I now wonder if I would have brought a camera? It may have been tacky. I'm sure it would have and I'd have thought better of it...
Posted by: bjhess at March 17, 2006 3:20 PM