One of baseball's most likeable stars of the past 25 years might be clinging to life in an Arizona hospital bed following brain surgery.
Just 45 years old, Hall-of-Famer Kirby Puckett suffered a stroke Sunday and was rushed to the hospital. Doctors reportedly performed surgery to relieve bleeding on his brain today.
It's downright scary to think of one of baseball's most energetic and charismatic embassadors in critical condition from a stroke less than 10 years after his career abruptly ended.
It has been a downhill slide for Puckett in the past decade. Starting with an inadvertant beanball to his left eye from Indians pitcher Dennis Martinez in a September 1995 game, he then developed glaucoma and eventually lost the vision in his right eye. The glaucoma caused him to retire in 1996.
Puckett has struggled with weight problems, and was accused of sexual assault in connection with a 2002 incident in a Twin Cities-area restaurant, charges which were later dropped.
Now, this has happened.
I don't want to remember Puckett like this. I want to remember him rounding the bases after hitting the home run that won Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, as Jack Buck said "We'll see you tomorrow night!"