Even if you’re (somehow …) not a Kirby Puckett fan, this lot’s for you.
The late Twins star amassed quite the collection of sports memorabilia over the years spent sharing the field with some of baseball’s greats. This week, Puckett’s family announced it is auctioning off dozens of pieces from his collection. Puckett’s children, 30-year-old Catherine and 28-year-old Kirby Jr., are honoring their father and turning over a portion of the auction proceeds to the Kirby Puckett Memorial Fund as well as various charities assisting with the community’s effort to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The sale is run by Vintage Sports Authentics of Maple Grove.
The jersey Puckett wore for Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, where Puckett famously stole a hit away from Ron Gant with a leaping grab in center field and then forced Game 7 with a walkoff home run in the 11th inning, is the signature item. As of Friday night the top bid was approaching $35,000 and likely to climb much higher.
Bidding ends April 23, and not every item up for grabs will cost more than a luxury car.
If you’re a bobblehead fan, there’s dozens available. Baseballs and trading cards autographed by Puckett are plentiful. You can even bid on a few of Puckett’s custom-made suits.
Here is a look at some other notable items in the catalog (Current bids as of midnight, April 11).
1986 Rawlings Gold Glove Award
Current bid: $7,853
The first of four consecutive Gold Gloves won by Puckett is easily the second-best item in the lot behind the Game 6 jersey. Here’s an idea: Gather up as many friends as you can and pool money. Treat it as a traveling trophy like the Stanley Cup: Everyone gets it for a day.
First home run ball: April 22, 1985
Current bid: $2,100
Matt Young gave up 99 home runs in his big-league pitching career. Twenty-three of those came in 1985, and two were hit by a rookie named Kirby Puckett. The first one can be yours.
12 Dave Winfield autographed Wheaties boxes
Current bid: $83
A steal. Dave Winfield is a St. Paul Legend. Dave Winfield is in the Hall of Fame. And that’s right: A whole dozen Wheaties boxes personally signed by him were in Puckett’s possession. Someone buy these and give them as trophies for a Little League tournament.
Three game-used baseballs from the 1995 All-Star Game
Current bid: $97
At least one of these baseballs looks like it was hit into play fairly hard. Maybe it was Puckett’s third-inning groundout off former Twins teammate John Smiley? Odds are it wasn’t but hey — you never know.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal autographed basketballs
Current bids: $212 (each)
It’s not the signatures that make these pieces unique, it’s the personalization. You wonder if somewhere Shaq has a baseball: “To Shaq. You the man. Kirby Puckett.”
Copy of Puckett’s 1989 contract
Current bid: $321
What did the Twins pay for a Gold Glove-winning, Silver Slugging center fielder who hit .356 in 1988? A cool $2 million to come back for the ’89 season. The following year he became baseball’s first $3 million man.
Hall of Fame members signed bat
Current bid: $581
Fifty-one signatures adorn this bat, from Gary Carter to Don Sutton and all around the diamond.
Cal Ripken Jr. 2,000th consecutive game ball
Current bid: $528
Before Ripken notched his 3,000th career hit at the Metrodome in 2000, the Iron Man played in consecutive game No. 2,000 on Aug. 1, 1994, also at the Dome. Can’t imagine many of these exist.
Puckett’s 200th hit ball from 1987
Current bid: $581
The Twins clinched the AL West on Sept. 28, 1987, with a 5-3 victory at Texas. The same night, Puckett rapped his 200th hit of the season. Less than a month later the Twins were World Series champions.
MC Hammer autographed baseball
Current bid: $118
Two legit to bid? Nope. The cool factor on this one is through the Teflon roof.