Previous Page 4 of 5 Next

Continued: A Minnesota hero's hard fall from grace

  • Article by: RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 31, 2006 - 12:32 PM

• • •

With a home run against Kansas City on June 26, 1994, Puckett became the Twins' all-time leader in hits, breaking Rod Carew's record of 2,085. "I'm the same old Kirby," he said. "A lot older and a lot slower, but still hacking."

• • •

As the months passed, Puckett's ties to Tonya and the kids were becoming more tenuous. While the bitter divorce had made dealings with Tonya difficult, his relationship with his children, Catherine and Kirby Jr., had changed, too.

His friends noticed that Puckett was with his children less and less. On poker nights they watched as Puckett called his kids again and again, often leaving voice mail messages to tell them he loved them.

"The thing that hurt him most wasn't the [breakup]," said longtime friend and teammate Ron Washington. "The thing that hurt him more than that was he wasn't seeing his kids" as often as he had before.

Adding to his frustration was the constant public scrutiny of his health and weight.

Without a job, his life lacked structure. And with those big appetites of his, he was eating more, maybe drinking more, getting bigger by the month. His friends were worried.

B. Todd Jones, a former U.S. Attorney who represented Puckett at his trial, sensed Puckett was embarrassed by his appearance. "He wasn't taking care of himself," Jones said.

His close friend Hughes said Puckett loved to party, entertain and "enjoy himself. If there was a day he was going to eat and drink and be merry, he was going to eat and drink and be merry as much as humanly possible."

By late 2003, several close friends, including former Twins teammate Dan Gladden, tried to persuade Puckett to move south. Get away, they told him. Start over.

Puckett had talked about moving for years, but he had always said he wouldn't go until Kirby Jr. graduated from high school.

But now, friends say, Minnesota had become a cold and callous place. He needed distance.

Olson remembers that on a bitterly cold morning in early 2004, while watching the weather forecast on TV, Puckett turned to her and said, That's it, babe. We're moving.

That October, Puckett and Olson hopped a plane to Arizona. They walked through 11 houses, but quickly picked a spacious, single-story home on Shangri La Road in Scottsdale. It had a large back yard, a pool, a hot tub and a putting green. To the southwest was Phoenix. To the northeast were the mountains. All around them was blue sky and that dry desert heat.

Puckett bought the house for $1.3 million in cash one month later.

Out in the desert, hundreds of miles from the bitter windchill and painful memories of the Twin Cities, Kirby Puckett had found a new home.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - N. Martinez 2:35 PM
Oakland - S. Gray
Boston - B. Workman 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
Toronto - R. Dickey 6:05 PM
NY Yankees - S. Greene
Washington - G. Gonzalez 6:10 PM
Miami - B. Hand
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Milwaukee - K. Lohse 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Arizona - V. Nuno 7:40 PM
Colorado - Y. Flande
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 8:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Seattle - F. Hernandez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close