Kirby Puckett spent his entire 12-year Major League Baseball with the Minnesota Twins.
In that time, he helped the Minnesota Twins win two World Series, became a Minnesota Sports icon and, arguably, the most-loved athlete in Minnesota history.
Puckett, who was raised in a public-housing project on the South Side of Chicago, didn't receive any college scholarship offers coming out of high school. He began working on an automotive assembly line, before getting the opportunity to attend Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. After one year at Bradley, he transferred to Triton College, where he caught the attention of the Minnesota Twins scouting department.
In 1982, the Twins selected the 5-foot-8 Puckett in the first round of January Draft. In June of 1982, Puckett made his professional debut at the age of 22 with the Twins' Elizabethton farm team in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. In 65 games, he batted .382.
Puckett spent his second professional season with Visalia of the Class A California League, hitting .314 with 97 RBI. Puckett began the 1984 season with Toledo of the Triple-A International League. After 21 games with the Mud Hens, Puckett was recalled by the Twins on May 7.
One day later Puckett made his major-league debut in Anaheim, Calif. From the leadoff spot in the batting order, Puckett went 4-for-5 with a run scored and stolen base in his major-league debut in the Twins' 5-0 victory over the Angels. He went on to hit .296 in 128 games in his rookie season.
Puckett was a key member of the Twins World Series championship teams in 1987 and 1991. With the Twins trailing the Atlanta Braves in the 1991 World Series, 3-2, in the best-of-7 series, he almost-singlehandedly helped the Twins avoid a loss with an amazing catch against the centerfield fence and a game-winning 11th inning home run at the Metrodome.
Puckett was the second player to get 2,000 hits during his first ten years in the major leagues.
In 1996, Puckett was forced to retire at the age of 36 because of vision loss in one eye. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2001.
He finished his career with 2,304 hits and a .318 career batting average. was selected to the All-Star Game 10 times and earned six Gold Glove Awards.
In December of 1999, Puckett was named by the Star Tribune the No. 1 most influential figure in Minnesota sports during the 20th century.
Team: Minnesota Twins.