Fans across Twins Territory can feel the pain that Padres fans are dealing after today's announcement. Former Twins great and Hall of Fame inductee Kirby Puckett also passed away at an early age. It can be tough for a franchise to lose the player most associated with the success of the franchise.
Gwynn never had a heroic World Series moment like Puckett but there were still connections between these star players.
- Both players were born in 1960. Gwynn was born in Los Angeles, CA and Puckett was born in Chicago, IL.
- Gwynn debuted in 1982 at age 22. Puckett wouldn't debut until 1984 at the age of 24.
- Puckett would make every All-Star Game from 1986 to 1995. Gwynn was on the NL squad for every one of those games except for 1988.
- Puckett led the AL in hits in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1992. Gwynn led the NL in hits in 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1994, 1995, and 1997.
- Puckett won his lone batting title in 1989 when he hit .339. Gwynn won the NL crown that same year with a .336 batting average.
- Gywnn collected his 2,000 career hit in August 1993. Puckett wouldn't be far behind as he got his 2,000th in April of the next season.
- Both men finished their careers with a batting average of over .300 (Puckett at .318, Gwynn at .338)
- Gwynn led the NL in WAR once in 1987. Puckett led the AL in WAR once in 1992.
- Puckett won Gold Gloves in 1986-1989 and 1991-1992. Gwynn won Gold Gloves in 1986-1987 and 1990-1991.
- Gwynn won seven Silver Slugger awards and Puckett had six Silver Slugger awards to his credit
- Both were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame with over 80% of the vote. Puckett got 82.1% and Gwynn received 97.6% of the vote.
- Both men played their entire careers with one organization.
Both of these players were great hitting outfielders during the same time period, one in the National League and one in the American League. They helped make their organizations better.
Overall, both players were taken too soon.