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    The Rise and Fall of Kirby Puckett – Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com

    in the final analysis, all they really know now in minnesota is that he was a whale of a baseball player. they will never be so sure of anyone else again. So maybe that’s a hard lesson well learned. the dazzling creatures are still just ballplayers; don’t wrap them in gauze and don’t tie them with the pretty ribbons of the good boy or boy next door (and certainly not the knight in shining armor). on the other hand, what a price the fans paid for losing their beloved illusions. You see, when the hero falls, maybe the hero worshipers fall more. After all, Kirby Puckett always knew who he was. well, he probably did. nothing seemed to faze him. it was everyone else who decided that he should be someone else, something more. yes, the adorable little puck was living a lie, but whose lie was it? in the final analysis.

    It wasn’t just that he was such a good baseball player. Barry Bonds is much better, but no one would give him anything more than the hammer and nails to build his own plinth. The record, however: he was lovable, plump and bald, all man, “a melon with legs,” as Jim Murray described him. Even his name! absolutely euphonious, a joy out of the ordinary. he was all he could be, all around, a player, the kind of person who kept the national pastime in mind. he was (this is a modest sampling of observations) “a real-life Smurf…[with] an immaculate reputation…the eighth wonder of the world…everything good about baseball.” He received the Branch Rickey Award and the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award, both for his service to the community, and was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. Bob Costas, the cupid of baseball, named his firstborn after, of all players on all teams of all time, Kirby Puckett. Kirby coins were minted. for boys: kirby bears. When a local magazine listed “The 100 Best Things About the Twin Cities,” Puckett was the highest-rated citizen, ranking fifth overall, just ahead of the Mississippi River and Betty Crocker.

    Reading: The rise and fall of kirby puckett

    maybe this was all a burden. especially after he woke up one bright spring morning in 1996 and thought he had slept badly in one eye, only it was glaucoma, and never again could he stop the puck against horsehides thrown at 90 to 95 mph. so, without warning, she had to hang him up. then he was no longer a ballplayer, much less a whale of one. Then he went back to being fat little Kirby Puckett. Of course, this meant being able to spend more time with his lover of many years, who no one seems to have known existed, because Kirby was, of course, an ideal family man, although truth be told, he wasn’t even an ideal scoundrel. because he too had cheated on his lover of many years with a bunch of other sad and lonely women. and you thought the fans were fooled. She was so shocked at the perfidy of her longtime lover that she began to seek solace in commiseration with her wife.

    However, the mistress of many years says that when Puckett was no longer able to play baseball, “he started to get cocky and very abusive.” he began performing lewd acts in public, such as going to a fancy mall, parking there, then opening his car door and going out and urinating in full view of other people (allegedly including fans of the twins).

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    The lady decided it had to be one of two things. or: “It was almost as if he wanted to see what she could get away with.” or: “she wanted to be caught.”

    puckett finally found the limits of anyone and achieved o when, last september. On February 6, at a suburban bistro called Redstone American Grill, he allegedly took a woman to the men’s room. she says that she went against her will, and so was what followed.

    So Kirby Puckett, a whale of a baseball player, goes on trial for false imprisonment and criminal sexual assault on March 24, a week before the baseball season begins. his lawyers have been protesting this happening, the arrest and the indictment, just because he is kirby puckett. well, yeah, sure, although maybe not in the way lawyers mean that.

    Oscar Wilde, a cynic, observed, “Americans are indeed hero worshipers and always take their heroes from the criminal classes.” but what did wilde really know about us? it can be more cause and effect: it’s not where we find our heroes, but where we lead them. in the final analysis.

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    puckett was much easier for minnesota to love, because of where he came from and where he stayed. He was born, one of nine children, in Chicago’s slums, territory once stigmatized as “the place where hope died.” But he bravely rose above his circumstances, leaving an assembly line at the Ford plant to go to college, and was recruited by the Twins in 1982. He went on to win the hearts of the Twin Cities, perhaps as much for simply settling down. there as per his glorious achievements approximate.

    now minneapolis and st. Paul are wonderful, friendly, forward-thinking hometowns, even urban for their size, but for fans in every less glamorous major league metropolis, it means a lot when their players actually certify them by staying all year. of f. scott fitzgerald to the andrews sisters, people from the twin cities tend to become famous only after they have left the twin cities behind. in as many places as minneapolis-st. paul there are no stars in the residence. TV weathermen are promoted to celebrities. good god, in minnesota they gave a professional wrassler the whole state just because he kept honoring it with his fame. Plus, in a sunbelt-leaning nation, Minnesota must also battle the nasty blob of brrr.

    The athletes are romantic idols, adored by innocent children and stunted adults, but the most knowledgeable bourgeois keep them at a distance, understanding that they are theirs only because of the uniforms, only the well-paid drummers who pass by. So when Kirby Puckett married a beautiful local girl, Tonya Hudson, and put down roots in the Twin Cities, it mattered, even more so because he was African American. After all, Puckett was one of the few blacks on a team in a metro area with a small minority population, so he presented himself as a home sample, not only to other African-Americans who would join the twins, but also to the hired. by the Vikings and, later, by the timber wolves.

    He continued to profess love for his new hometown, and his well-documented philanthropic efforts, particularly on behalf of poor and sick children, further endeared him to the public. this is the preferred expression in such cases: he gave back to the community from him.

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    says jeff dubay, a sports radio kfan personality, “kirby wasn’t some guy who lived here for just six months. he’s the professional athlete who’s been put above everyone else. people think this town is a little different from los angeles or new york. here are values”. Puckett embodied them. He was invariably grouped together with Cal Ripken Jr. in baltimore and tony gwynn in san diego as one of those rare and beloved throwback gamers who value love and loyalty above the mercenary lures of the highest bidder. In 1989, Puckett was the highest-paid player in the game, but the fans weren’t jealous of him, and in 1992, when the Beaky Twins hesitated to pay market value for Puckett, their neighbors stood up as one, 81% of them , by royal poll, to demand that the twins pay whatever it takes to keep him in their loving embrace. That summer, at the Democratic National Convention in New York City, the great state of Minnesota was no longer the land of 10,000 lakes. no, his spokesperson officially proclaimed it: “minnesota, the state of walter mondale, hubert humphrey, and kirby puckett…” that time was minnesota’s summer of self-love.

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