Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tomorrow is Not Promised to Any of Us

Most tributes to Kirby Puckett will skip from Chicago's projects and a Ford assembly line directly to his sudden, transformational appearance with the Minnesota Twins. But some fans know he played ball at Triton (Ill.) College, and in my hometown more than a few remember his earlier heroics.

At the Junior College World Series, Puckett hit a record .688 for the 1982 tournament. That's a slow-pitch softball average, not baseball, and the locals figured they might see more of this kid with the fireplug body. No one imagined he'd be starring for the Twins just two years later.

I like to think my dad was one of those fans who enjoyed Puck's performance. He must've been in the stadium for those games, because one of his great labors of love was helping establish a permanent home for the JUCO baseball tourney, qualifying Grand Junction, Colorado, as a sort of warm Omaha. (Omaha is the site of the College Baseball World Series.)

But he never saw the rest. The spring Puckett broke through in the majors, my father died. He was the same age I turned just last week.

Kirby Puckett gave fans a lot of joy, but maybe nothing greater than his farewell to baseball when glaucoma took his sight and his career.

"Tomorrow is not promised to any of us," he said.

So enjoy the game today.


Blogger Nate said...

If tomorrow is not promised to you, then maybe it is time to be reconciled with your maker.

7:23 PM  

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