Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Jolly Fat Baseball Player

It is undeniable that baseball is about stats. More than any other sport, thanks to Sabermetrics, and groups like Baseball Prospectus we all understand exactly what skills make baseball players tick. However, there are players that just break the mold. Kirbey Pucket's stats weren't that amazing. In fact, when you compare them to other borderline Hall of Famers, he doesn't even seem to be a lock to be there. His career stats are roughly on par with Don Mattingly and probably behind Jim Rice...but there was never any doubt that Pucket was a HOFer, nor should there have been. Kirbey was one of those rare players that transended stats.

I'm 22 so I was just developing baseball consciousness was Kirbey was in his prime. I feel particularly robbed of the end of his career when I would have been old enough to remember his career more fully. However, I think it speaks to Pucket's universalism that even I as a 9 year old remember the leaping catch against the plexi-glass and the game winning home run later that night. I mean, I was freaking 9, I don't even remember 75% of the Yankees from 1991 (well looking back I kind of do, but I dont have any memory of watching them play) but for whatever reason I remember that game. While he played, Kirbey was a character beyond comparison. I've tried to come up with a comparison so that people younger than me, who have absolutely no memory of his career might get some sense, but I think the biggest complement I can give him is that there is currently nobody like him.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Daliman said...

im 33 year olds now and remember Kirby and his career very well. i just don't understand what you mean by he was a "character"? during his playing days he did nothing outrageous, nor was he a big media guy. what exactly do you mean he was a character? he was actually a rather quiet team player who spoke with his bat and glove. unless you are talking about some issues he had after he retired, i just don't think you know who or what kirby puckett really was.

2:11 PM  
Blogger MLG said...

I didnt mean, character in that quirky way, like dennis rodman was a a character. I didnt mean any negative connotations. I meant that his force of personality, carried those twins teams. He was, according to everything I've read and heard somebody that everybody in the league loved. I simply meant that he had a force of personality that elevated him among his peers as much as his statistical numbers.

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Daliman said...

sorry for my tone. however, i still don't think character is the proper word to use. maybe you were looking for 'leader' or 'leadership'. but he was a rather quiet, unassuming individual who led by his actions. rarely will you see the word character put alongside those traits.

2:52 PM  
Blogger MLG said...

No worries about the tone, I know who you are from 2+2, so I didnt really take offense and figured you just came across harsher then you meant to. I suppose the wording in my original post was rather awkward...thats what happens when you write while running bad.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Daliman said...

tell me about it, im running awful! can't you tell? i guess this is the type of conversation that ensues when 2 parties are running bad, lol. hope things improve. peace.

4:53 PM  
Anonymous klp said...

I think what you meant was "character guy"; as in the type of player who brings a presence to the clubhouse that just makes things work for 162+ games. Similar to leading by example; I've read that he always had a smile on his face when he was around baseball, and that kind of attitude can be contagious in a good way.

ps. mlg, i also go by cogar23, for a hint

11:16 PM  
Anonymous klp said...

I think what you meant was "character guy"; as in the type of player who brings a presence to the clubhouse that just makes things work for 162+ games. Similar to leading by example; I've read that he always had a smile on his face when he was around baseball, and that kind of attitude can be contagious in a good way.

ps. mlg, i also go by cogar23, for a hint

11:29 PM  

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