8.19.2009

Kirby Puckett, 1992 Pinnacle Sidelines

Name: Kirby Puckett
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Outfield
Value of card: Two cubes of chalk
Key 1992 stat: Zero bank shots made
A shark with no bite: To be honest, Kirby Puckett's 1992 "Sideline" card should have shown him playing baseball. That's how enthralled he became with billiards that year. In 1992, Kirby purchased The Twin Cues, his favorite downtown Minneapolis pool hall, and spent every free hour he had there. But there was a problem: Kirby was no good. His failure to grasp even basic geometry meant it would take him hours just to run one table. Determined to improve, he'd hit The Twin Cues at 7 in the morning and play for five hours before opening to the public, missing bank shots and scratching on breaks the whole time. He added 30 pounds to his already considerable frame and began wearing foot-thick sweaters. His determination quickly turned into obsession, and he began missing baseball practices on a regular basis. Manager Tom Kelly had had enough. He sent pitcher Rick Aguilera down to the Cues to retrieve the All-Star outfielder. Aguilera, who had a beard-trimming appointment that afternoon, wasted no time, breaking down the pool hall's locked front door and yelling, "Hey, Minnesota Fats, let's play some damn baseball already!" Kirby, unamused, charged the big righty and hit him across the face with his tailor-made cue. Fortunately, Aguilera's beard absorbed most of the blow. Unfazed, he picked up his pudgy teammate, stuffed him in the trunk of his 1992 Buick LeSabre and then burned the Cues to the ground. A shamed Kirby never played pool again.
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