Kirby Puckett made the hall of fame in part because he was such a great guy. He looked fun to be around and was a fun leader as well as friendly to the fans. However, soon after being elected to the hall of fame some dark stories started to come out and it seemed at this time that Kirby started to lose direction. However, many of his teammates still appreciated playing with him so he must have displayed his anger away from the field. I don’t know enough to make a complete judgement of him.
So, I want to talk about the friend part of his life and to me it is the two World Series game sixes where he helped the Twins win the two seventh games and their two World Series titles. Now I wrote about these two games before, so this time I’m going to do it differently. I am going to see how the Twins changes change after each at bat in those two games.
First, we will look at game 6 of the 1987 World Series. The Twins were down 3 games to 2 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In the first inning, the Twins were already down 1-0 and Puckett came up with Dan Gladden on first. The Twins had a 50 percent chance of winning the game. Puckett made it 55 percent with his single driving in Gladden to tie the game. He later scored on a single by Don Baylor to give the Twins a 62 percent chance of winning the game.
In the third the game was tied at two. Puckett singled leading off the inning to increase the twins chances of winning by four percent. He stole second with two outs to increase the Twins chance by 1 percent. He did not score in the third.
Puckett again batted lead off in the bottom of the 5th. The Twins were down 5-2 and had only a 21% chance of winning. Puckett singled to again improve the Twins chance of winning by 4 percent to 25 percent. Gary Gaetti doubled in Puckett to increase the Twins chance of winning to 39 percent. The Twins were now down 5-3, but Puckett had been involved in all three runs. Baylor then homered to tie the game and now the Twins were favored to win at 57 percent.
Greg Gagne led off the 6th with a single. Puckett followed with a walk to increase the Twins chances of winning the game 77 percent to 81 percent. Later with the bases loaded and two out Kent Hrbek hit a grand-slam home run to put the Twins up 10-5 giving the Twins a 96 percent chance of winning the game.
In the eighth Puckett led off with a single and scored another run making the game 11-5, but the Twins had it pretty much wrapped up by that time.
Overall Puckett increased the Twins chance of winning by .197 wins. He increased the team’s chances of winning the championship 10.17 percent which was second on the team to Don Baylor.
Now game 6 of the 1991 World Series. It was the same except the Twins were down 3 game to 2 to the Atlanta Braves.
The first inning was also similar for game 6 as in the 1987 World Series, except this year he hit a triple to drive in Dan Gladden and score on Shane Macks single. The triple increased the Twins chances of winning by 13 percent since it would be easier for him to score afterward. This he did on Shane Mack’s single. This gave the Twins a 71% chance of winning. Again, he was involved with the first two runs scored for the Twins.
In the third the Twins still led 2-0 but Puckett struck out reducing by one percent the Twins chance of winning.
In the fifth, the Braves tied the game 2-2. Kirby Puckett came up in the bottom of the fifth, Dan Gladden on third with one out. He hit a sacrifice fly to score Gladden. This increased the Twins chances of winning by 4%.
In the eighth, Puckett again came up with the game tied. Only there was one out. Puckett singled to increase the Twins chances of winning by 5%. With two outs he stole second to increase the Twins chances of winning by another 3%. However, Puckett didn’t score.
Kirby was the leadoff hitter in the 11th inning. He took the first three pitches on purpose. You can find the story of that on the internet, and it is better with Kirby and Chili Davis telling the story. He then homered to win the game increasing the Twins chances of winning the game 36%.
For the whole game Puckett increased the Twins chance of winning by .593 wins. He increased his team’s chances of winning the championship by 29.45%, by far the most of the team in the game.