“In 1991 in playing against him in the World Series, if we had to lose and if one person basically was the reason, you never want to lose but you didn’t mind it being (to) Kirby Puckett. When he made the catch and when he hit the home run, you could tell the whole thing had turned. His name just seemed to be synonymous with being a superstar.”
— Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz
“There was no player I enjoyed playing against more than Kirby. He brought such joy to the game. He elevated the play of everyone around him.”
— Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk
“I was very saddened to hear the news. He was a fierce competitor but loved by all.”
— Hall of Fame shortstop/outfielder Robin Yount
“We lost one of the real compassionate people and players today. It’s a tough loss for anyone who loves the game, as Kirby did.”
— Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan
“Kirby played the game with such passion and enthusiasm that he was beloved by players and fans throughout all of baseball. An icon in Minnesota, Kirby’s contributions to the game and all who love it will stand as a lasting tribute to his life.”
— Donald M. Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
“Just his smile, his laughter and his love for the game.”
— Former Twins teammate Kent Hrbek, when asked what he’d remember most about playing with Puckett
“He was one of my first idols as a kid growing up. He was the first professional athlete I ever met. Not only was he a great athlete, he did a lot of things for the city. People could touch him. He was visible, he was always around, doing things in the community like ’Make A Wish,’ and the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. He was a great man.”
— Los Angeles Lakers forward and Minnesota native Devean George
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am terribly saddened by the sudden passing of Kirby Puckett. Kirby was one of the great players of the 1980s and 1990s. I admired Kirby throughout his career. He was a Hall of Famer in every sense of the term. He played his entire career with the Twins and was an icon in Minnesota. But he was revered throughout the country and will be remembered wherever the game is played. Kirby was taken from us much too soon — and too quickly.”
— Baseball commissioner Bud Selig
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.