Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Remembering Kirby

"Lucas County Rec Center"

When calling the home of the Toledo Mud Hens in 1984 to get in touch with the clubhouse man, you went through the switchboard of the local rec center. It looked like they held rodeos, and flee markets, and fairs there, too. A baseball stadium seemed an afterthought. At the time there were few modernized parks in the minors, but the quality of the game remained unaffected. And, yes, many of us saw legends in places like Toldedo, Ohio for the first time.

The Tdewater Tides opened the 1984 season in Toledo against the Mud Hens. Part of the pregame ceremony included a couple of young guys singing a theme song, "Oh How We Love Them Hens." Jeff Bittiger was masterful for the Tides and tossed a four hit shut-out. All four Mud Hen hits were delivered from the same player.

After the fourth rocket, I commented to pitching coach, Al Jackson, "Damn. We're going to have a long year with him."

Jackson calmly was tossing seeds into his mouth and said quietly, "Don't worry, Doc. He won't be here long."


Kirby Pucket played in 128 games for the Minnesota Twins that season, and somehow became even more than the clubs indentity. Pucket earned two World Series rings from 1987 and 1991. Sadly his career was shortened by glaucoma in one eye, but it was after batting .316 the previous season.

A great one in more ways than one, Pucket was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001.

We always miss these great one's but remember more then ever only the best. And lest do so here.

From David Pinto's Baseball Musings, read Batgirls fitting tribute.


At 4:28 PM, Blogger Mets Guy in Michigan said...

Ah, Ned Skeldon Stadium in Maumee, Ohio! I've been there a bunch of times, and it was cool when the Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame was a part of it.

That was a strange little stadium, but we always had a good time the. I liked how the players had to walk through the fans to get back to the clubhouse.

I never saw Kirby there, but I did get to see Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and my friend Mickey Weston.


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