"Don't take anything for granted, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us."
Kirby Puckett was a baseball player. A great baseball player. One of the best ever. He played his entire career with the Minnesota Twins, though it was cut short due to an eye injury that rendered him unable to see our of his right eye. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, the first chance he had to get in.
"I was told I would never make it because I'm too short. Well, I'm still too short, but I've got 10 All-Star games, two World Series championships, and I'm a very happy and contented guy. It doesn't matter what your height is, it's what's in your heart."
He wasn't a model citizen off the field after his retirement, but he will always be remembered for the enthusiasm and joy he brought to playing the game of baseball. He faced long odds to make it, and always tried his hardest.
"Kirby Puckett's going to be all right. Don't worry about me. I'll show up, and I'll have a smile on my face. The only thing I won't have is this uniform on. But you guys can have the memories of what I did when I did have it on."
On March 5, 2006, Kirby Puckett suffered a severe stroke at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona and underwent emergency surgery. He died of complications from the stroke the next day, just 8 days away from his 46th birthday.
Goodbye, Kirby. We'll all miss you.