After watching it live in 1991, and declaring that Kirby Puckett was a bona-fide baseball legend while jumping up and down and jamming my finger in my St. Paul apartment, I watched tape of Puck’s Game 6 homer, and believe that he called his shot!
I watched it over and over again. Conclusion: Kirby Puckett knew he was gonna win that game for the Twins, and he deilvered. He is in the Hall of Fame because of that moment.
Many will argue that he New York Yankees’ Babe Ruth actually called the historic home run he hit off the Chicago Cubs’ Charlie Root in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field. But nobody, knows for sure that truth. That story is baseball lore, and Kirby’s called shot should be right there with it.
According to a column by Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, printed years later, my initial hunch had some truth.
In Walters column, he interviewed Twins 1991 Batting Coach, Terry Crowley, “who was among the first people Puckett eagerly embraced on the field after the historic clout to left field. There was a reason, and most people were not aware.”
“On some replays of the tape, if the crowd noise is diminished,” Crowley said, “you can hear Puckett tell me, ‘I told you so, Crow.’ “
The new legend has it, and Crowley confirmed that just before Puckett went to bat against Charlie Leibrandt, he told Crowley he was about to end the game with a home run.
“Puckett told me, ‘Crow, if they leave Leibrandt in there, this game is over,’ ” Crowley said. “That’s the God’s honest truth. That’s fact, and that happened. If you listen (to the tape), he gives me a hug and says, ‘Crow, I told you.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you did.’
“That was the high point in that World Series; that was a do-or-die game.”
That is what I believe, and will preach til the day that I get to see Puck play again in another setting.