I think it is a sign of age when you hear of the passing of one of your childhood idols. Yesterday, Kirby Puckett passed away at the age of 44. Growing up in San Francisco, I worshipped Puck. I loved the way he would run through walls to catch a fly ball. I loved the fact that someone shaped like a bowling ball could hit .330. I also loved the fact he played the game with passion, and had fun out there. Puckett recognized that baseball is a kids game, and that most of the male population could only dream about what he was doing.
When I was a kid, we would play wiffle ball against the garages of anyone whose parents would allow us to abuse their garage doors. Being the baseball addicted dreamers we were, (And for that matter still are) we made lineups, and tried to even mimic the stances of our "team". Well, as a left hand hitter, I don't think I did Kirby much justice when trying to hit from the right side, so of course, a change had to be made.....Kirby became a lefty. Man, in real life, Puck should have hit from the left side, because he was awesome!! Some of those shots that cleared the gutter, and went into the thorny bushes were legendary!! (I think I still have one of the scars from those darn things.) I was Kirby because I was the little guy with some heart, and countless dreams.
Thanks for the memories Puck, and rest in peace..