Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Twins Retire Puckett's No. 34

May 26, 1997

Even though his rotund frame probably doesn't quite reach the 5-foot-9 for which he is given credit, Kirby Puckett already was larger than life in Minnesota before his jersey was retired Sunday night.

Now there are 837 square feet of him hanging in the Metrodome upper deck to make sure he stays that way.

Puckett's No. 34 was retired during a 90-minute ceremony before the Twins' game against the Oakland Athletics. Former major league stars Ozzie Smith, Dave Winfield and Frank Viola--only a few of the Puckett admirers who took part in the ceremony live and by videotape--pulled the strings to unveil a mural of the most beloved sports figure in Minnesota history.

"I got to do everything that I thought I would do," Puckett said after the ceremony. "I was just a little singles hitter. I got to go to 10 All-Star games, American League Championship Series MVP. You name it, I got to do it. I mean, my life has been so great, and I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Puckett, who led the Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and '91, was forced out of the game last year when an early form of glaucoma stole the vision from his right eye. It was a sad, premature ending to one of the brightest careers in the history of the game. But, true to the indomitable spirit for which President Clinton lauded him Sunday, Puckett refuses to feel sorry for himself.

"I've done something that you don't get to see people do. I've got to have my cake and eat it, too," Puckett said. "So for me, my life has been special. The candles were lit today, and I just blew the candles out on my career and I closed the book as far as my life in baseball. And I look forward to doing more positive things in the community and hopefully continue to make a difference in people's lives."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|