The Rise and Fall of Kirby Puckett

The media and the fans in Minnesota turned the Twins’ Hall of Famer into a paragon of every virtue—and that made his human flaws, when they came to light, all the more shocking.

  1. In the final analysis, all they really know now in Minnesota is that he was one whale of a baseball player. They'll never be so sure of anyone else again. So, maybe that's a tough lesson well learned. The dazzling creatures are still just ballplayers; don't wrap them in gauze and tie them up with the pretty ribbons of Nice Guy or Boy Next Door (and certainly not of Knight in Shining Armor).

    On the other hand, what a price did fans pay to lose their dear illusions. You see, when the hero falls, maybe the hero worshipers fall harder. After all, Kirby Puckett always knew who he was. Well, he probably did. Nothing seemed to faze him. It was all the other folks who decided he must be someone else, something more. Yeah, the lovable little Puck was living a lie, but whose lie was it? In the final analysis.

    It wasn't just that he was such a good ballplayer. Barry Bonds is much better, but nobody would give him anything but the hammer and nails to build his own pedestal. The Puck, though: He ...

The complete text of “The Rise and Fall of Kirby Puckett” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on sportsillustrated.cnn.com.

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