Monday, March 06, 2006

RIP, Puck

I've always had a soft spot for Kirby Puckett, mostly because of his performance in the 1991 World Series, in which he and Jack Morris combined to slay the despicable Atlanta Braves. Puckett's Game 6 extra inning game-winning homer is one of the most dramatic in Series history, and his clattering leaping grab in the same game is one of the best defensive plays in series history. Kirby got into the Hall based on his rate stats, but had he continued, his career numbers would have matched any centerfielder's. In 1995, his last year before his premature retirement due to glaucoma, he hit .314/.379/.515 with 23 homers. He surely would have benefitted greatly from the offensive explosion at the end of the '90s. And Puckett was always an outstanding defender--his range and fielding percentage career stats in center far outsrip the league averages for the time. From '85 to '95, only brief flashes of brilliance from Eric Davis caused any dispute as to who was the best centerfielder in the majors. The answer was Puckett, every time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sad. ; ;


3:15 PM  

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