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Kirby Puckett

Injury And Glaucoma

On September 28, 1995, Puckett was hit in the face by a fastball. The blow shattered his jaw and put him out of play for the rest of the season. At spring training camp the following March he was batting well, but on March 28 he woke up unable to see out of his right eye. Doctors discovered he had glaucoma. The problem could not be corrected, even after four surgeries, and on July 12, 1996, he announced his retirement as a player. Puckett told his fans that he was happy with the twelve seasons he had been able to play, including two World Series championships and ten All-Star games. The Twins kept him on as executive vice president of the club, and he and his family were able to stay in Minneapolis, the adopted city they loved.

During his playing years and after retirement, Puckett established and worked for a number of charities, including serving as a national spokesperson for the Glaucoma Foundation and making public appearances to encourage people to get eye exams for the disease. He and his wife hosted an annual invitational pool tournament to raise money for the Children's HeartLink in Minneapolis, to help those in need pay for life-saving heart surgery. Both of Puckett's parents died of heart attacks. As an executive with the Minnesota Twins, he chaired the club's Community Fund committee. He won both the Wesley Branch Rickey Award and the Roberto Clemente Award for service to the community.

Awards and Accomplishments

The Branch Rickey Award is given by the Rotary Club of Denver to Major League Baseball's top community volunteer.
The Roberto Clemente Award is given to the Major League player who best represents baseball through community service.
1982 Named Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America
1984 Topps Major League All-Rookie Team; voted Rookie of the Year by Minnesota Twins
1985 Calvin Griffith Award as Minnesota Twins' Most Valuable Player
1986 American League Silver Slugger Team; Most Valuable Player, Twin Cities Chapter, Baseball Writers Association of America
1986-95 American League All-Star Team
1986-89, 1991 Gold Glove Award
1987 Minnesota Twins won World Series
1987-89 Silver Slugger Award
1991 Minnesota Twins won World Series
1993 Branch Rickey Award
1995 Chosen one of five most caring athletes by USA Weekend
1996 Roberto Clemente Award
2001 Inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame, the third youngest living player to be so honored

Where Is He Now?

Retired from the Minnesota Twins as a player since 1995, Kirby Puckett has remained with the club as executive vice president. He has kept a fairly low profile, according to his former teammates. They say he seems to prefer spending time with his family and fishing to being in the public eye, although he remains tremendously popular with his fans. He also devotes a good deal of time to charity work. However, after a great year in 2001, in which he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, 2002 was a difficult one for Puckett. His wife, Tonya, filed for divorce in February, citing domestic violence and an "irretrievable breakdown" in their marriage. She sought sole custody of their two children. Then, in September, Puckett was charged with felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct. Puckett declared that he was innocent of the charges. He remained free on his own recognizance, and a pretrial was set for late November.

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballKirby Puckett Biography - Humble Beginnings, Discovered By The Twins, Chronology, Injury And Glaucoma, Awards And Accomplishments - CONTACT INFORMATION