View Full Version : Puckett in critical condition

03-06-2006, 03:47 PM
taken from foxsports.net

The 44-year-old Puckett, who led the Twins to two World Series titles before his career was cut short by glaucoma, was stricken Sunday morning at his Arizona home.

He remained in intensive care at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Kimberly Lodge said. Puckett was moved there after surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn.

"Tough day," former Twins manager Tom Kelly said Monday at the team's training camp in Fort Myers, Fla.

The club was in Bradenton for an exhibition game against Pittsburgh, but manager Ron Gardenhire stayed behind with star center fielder Torii Hunter, who took himself out of the lineup before Sunday's game against Boston after hearing the news.

As players and coaches worked out in Fort Myers, the mood was somber.

"Our mind isn't on the ballfield. It's on Kirby," said former outfielder Tony Oliva, who like Kelly is a special instructor during spring training.

Puckett was once a guest coach, too, after he retired in 1996, but he hasn't worked for the team since 2002. He has kept a low profile since being cleared of assault charges in 2003, when he was accused of groping a woman at a suburban Twin Cities restaurant.

Puckett has remained close with several people in the Twins organization, and he was one of baseball's most popular players throughout his 12-year career.

"I don't know where I would have ended up if it weren't for Kirby Puckett," Kelly said. "He was not just a great ballplayer. He was a great friend. Everybody is taking it hard."

Oakland third base coach Ron Washington, a former teammate, spent Sunday at the hospital with Puckett, his fiancee, his agent and others. Washington said he saw Puckett, who has two children, go into the operating room. Puckett is engaged to be married this summer.

"I've known him since 1984. We talk every so often. We're close. He's a strong guy, a fighter and I want to think the best," Washington said. "We all know the bad part, but I don't believe in the bad."

After his career ended, Puckett put on a considerable amount of weight - which concerned those close to him.

"We would tell him. But he enjoyed life. He enjoyed the size he was. That's who he was," former Twins and current Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones said Sunday at the team's spring training site in Mesa, Ariz.

"You can't do anything about it until he decides to change. Hopefully, he'll pull through this, and it'll be like a call for him to change some things in his life."

Puckett, who broke in with Minnesota in 1984, had a career average of .318 and carried the Twins to championships in 1987 and 1991. Glaucoma forced the six-time Gold Glove center fielder and 10-time All-Star to retire when he went blind in his right eye.

Perhaps the most popular athlete to ever play in Minnesota, Puckett was the talk of the town around the Twin Cities area.

"The whole thing has taken me by shock," said Joel Davis, the manager of a Twins memorabilia shop in Roseville.

Davis said he fielded questions from concerned fans about Puckett's condition throughout the day.

"It's hard to get a grip on it," he said. "You've just got to hope for a miracle."

Sue Chad, a customer at the store, said she and her husband named their dog Kirby.

"We saw him as someone the other players could get behind - just holding up the energy of the team," said Chad, who fondly recalled Puckett's 11th-inning homer to win Game 6 of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta in a frenzied Metrodome.


being as excited as I am to hear the crack of the bats in the air again, I'm equally as sad to hear about this happening to one of the greats and one of the class acts of modern day baseball. Here's hoping for the best...


03-06-2006, 06:31 PM
Sack, pretty sad to hear about his death at only 44
Way too young to lose your life.
Great ballplayer, I saw both of the twins worls series....and seemed like a nice guy as well.

Cueless Joey
03-07-2006, 01:14 AM
Sad to hear of Kirby's death.
I remember the miracle 87 Twins.
Then they won again against the Braves.
Two world series wins without winning a road game.

OT but we really need to take care of our body. Kirby gained so much weight after retiring.

03-07-2006, 01:29 AM
was at the poolhall when they announced he passed away tonight. Very sad loss indeed, and agrred about watching out health. I (like others) was hoping he'd get through this and use it as a wake up call. Sad day for baseball.


03-07-2006, 05:55 AM
I remember the miracle 87 Twins.
Then they won again against the Braves.
<hr /></blockquote> LOL, the only teams not to have won against the Braves is the NL East. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


03-07-2006, 05:56 AM
Definitely a sad day in Baseball. It was awful to hear about the stroke this weekend, and now to hear of his death. This is really sad. Our prayers are with his family.