Unknown date & location, USA; FILE PHOTO; Minnesota Twins centerfielder Kirby Puckett follows through on a swing. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
When it comes to picking my favorite Twins highlight, it all comes down to a single memory. It's this historic moment that almost seems like it never really happened in the "here and now"; it's like a recollection in present time, like real-time deja vu: unraveling right in front of you but you only believe it's happening because it feels like so many other iconic moments that belong to the past.
The odd thing about my favorite Twins highlight is that it's not even one highlight. It's two. But these two moments are so connected, so impossibly inseparable, that to think of one and not the other is something that just can't be done.
I'm sure you know exactly where I'm going with this. The 1991 World Series. Game Six. Like my favorite highlight could ever be about any other player, from any other team, from any other game. This is it.
What's odd when I think about it now, is that Kirby Puckett's catch off the plexiglass in center field took place in the third inning. Not the ninth or tenth or top of the eleventh, just prior to the second half of this recollection. It was the third inning. With the Twins already leading 2-0, Lonnie Smith was hit by Scott Erickson to lead off the third. Two batters later, Ron Gant arced one through the air so high and deep that you could forgive any Twins fans for putting their collective heads in their collective hands.
It didn't matter that the plexiglass was there. But it's still part of the memory. The moment isn't complete without it. Kirby's stout body rising higher than someone of his size should, the glove reaching up for the catch, slamming into the plexiglass as it bends to Puckett's force, reflecting the lights off the Dome's roof.
He would have robbed Gant of a game-tying two-run blast without that additional barrier. Instead his catch assured Smith didn't score. And we already know the Twins needed every last run to win this game.
And then came the home run. Jack Buck's now infamous call. The fist pump.
Six years ago, when Kirby passed, many great people and many better writers than myself had incredibly touching and poignant things to say. But in terms of relating to this game, to Game Six of quite possibly the best World Series of all time, Tim Kurkjian said this:
There are bound to be other favorite highlights out there, but this is mine and I know I share it with many, many other Twins fans. Let's hear what you have to say about your favorite Twins highlight.