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MPR’s Brandt Williams visits a Metrodome memorial site for former Minnesota Twin Kirby Puckett, who passed away on March 6, 2006. Willimas interviews several fans mourning the loss of fame baseball player.


2006 NBNA Eric Sevareid Award, first place in Sports Reporting - Large Market Radio category


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BRANT WILLIAMS: Fans have set up their Memorial to Kirby Puckett at the North end of the Metrodome just outside the twins ticket office. Bundled against a chilling breeze, some have come just to gaze upon the memorials or take pictures. Others bring candles, flowers, pictures even a box of Wheaties with a 1987 world championship team on it.

LOIS MARSHALL: And I put up that sign right there.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Lois Marshall points to a cardboard sign attached to a railing. The handwritten words say--

LOIS MARSHALL: We will always love you. Rest in peace in God's hall of fame. And that's where he is now, and hey, we all got to go that road one day, huh?

BRANT WILLIAMS: Marshall recalled Puckett's contributions to the Minnesota Twins World Series Championships in 1987 and 1991. But she says, Puckett was more than just a good athlete who won some baseball games. He was a man who came from humble beginnings in a violent neighborhood.

LOIS MARSHALL: Yeah, he was from Chicago, and I'm from Indiana. So I know how that is. But for him to come here and play the game like he did and like he did, it's just-- it should show a lot of these young kids that you can put those guns down and you can go somewhere and you can be somebody like he was.

RICK HAGLUND: I mainly wanted to come and take pictures to show these kids how much he meant to us, that I'm working with now.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Rick Haglund lives in downtown Minneapolis.

RICK HAGLUND: But I work in north Minneapolis right out from where they're off from Lowry and Emerson where there's been a lot of shootings and stuff, Just to give these kids hope and moving on.

SPEAKER: [? I went over ?] and asked him if he was silent. And he said--

BRANT WILLIAMS: Hey, how are you doing? I'm Brant from Minnesota Public Radio. Do you mind if you ask you--

DAVE HALVORSEN: Eh, sad day in Minnesota.



BRANT WILLIAMS: You brought down the radio here. Why did you bring that down?

DAVE HALVORSEN: So people can see what he did and what he did for Minnesota. He was a good man all around.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Dave Halvorsen's contribution to the memorial is a radio. It's dialed to a sports radio call-in show. The show is dedicated to Puckett. It becomes a soundtrack to the memorial. Have you ever had a chance to meet Kirby Puckett?

DAVE HALVORSEN: I do. I have a baseball card signed by him.

BRANT WILLIAMS: When did you have it signed?

DAVE HALVORSEN: That would be, I believe, October of '91. Not for sale.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Yeah, one you're going to keep?

DAVE HALVORSEN: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I'll give it to the grandkids when they get old enough.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Halvorsen walks away. The radio plays on as Margaret Niemi adds an American flag to this growing memorial.

MARGARET NIEMI: Oh, he was a wonderful man, and I grew up in Minneapolis. Yeah, we'll miss him.

BRANT WILLIAMS: Twins fans who have yet to pay their respects to Puckett will have another opportunity. Twins officials say they are planning a public Memorial. They're still working out details with Puckett's family, so they don't know yet when it will happen. But they do know where-- the Metrodome, located at 34 Kirby Puckett Place. Reporting from Minneapolis, I'm Brant Williams, Minnesota Public Radio News.


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