Kirby Puckett was a Hall of Fame baseball player who won two World Series championships with the Minnesota Twins and who also won adulation from basically everyone who watched him play. As MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said upon his passing, “He was revered throughout the country and will be remembered wherever the game is played.”
In 1996, Puckett’s career was cut short due to glaucoma. According to former teammate Kent Hrbek, having to leave baseball so soon was likely super-devastating to Puckett, a feeling evidenced by Puckett’s rapid post-retirement weight gain. Sadly, it was this extra weight that probably did him in — on March 5, 2006, Puckett suffered a severe stroke and died just a day later. At age 45, he became the second-youngest member of the MLB Hall of Fame to die post-induction (older only than Lou Gehrig). He left behind a legacy of sheer fun and enthusiasm, proving that you can play sports at the highest level and still enjoy yourself while doing it.