Kirby Puckett - Injury And Glaucoma
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.