Kirby Puckett - Looking Back

 

On this day 19 years ago, Kirby Puckett was named MVP of the All-Star Game. Puckett led the American League to a victory in that 1993 edition, taking home its top honor in the process. Puckett was 2-3, hitting a 2nd Inning Home Run of Terry Mulholland before following it up with a 5th inning RBI double off of John Burkett. The MVP award Puckett lifted after the 9-3 victory would prove to be another achievement in this legendary career.

Puckett played his entire career in Minnesota and is arguably the greatest player in Twins history. A Chicagoan, Puckett did not earn a single college offer coming out of high school as he went to work on a Ford assembly line before getting a chance at Bradley University, where he became a star. A first round draft pick by the Twins, Puckett's major league debut would come on May 8, 1984 and he found immediate success, finishing 3rd in the 1984 Rookie of the Year voting. However, 1986 would prove Puckett a star, as he won his first All-Star Game appearance, Golden Glove, and Silver Slugger that year, repeting that trio of achievements for the next three seasons after.

However, Puckett's most iconic moments came on the highest stage. He batted .357 in the 1987 World Series as the Twins won their first ever championship, defeating the Cardinals in seven games. Puckett would continue to star through the end of the 80's and into the 90's. 1991 would see Puckett help lead the Twins back to the World Series against the Atlanta Braves, as Puckett turned in some decisive defending and hit an 11th inning walk-off home run in Game 6 to force game 7. The Twins won Game 7 1-0 on the back of a 10 inning performance from Jack Morris, as Puckett took home his 2nd World Series title.

Puckett would never return to the playoffs, but he did turn in four more strong seasons, and All-Star in each. Sadly, during 1996 Spring Training, Puckett woke up one morning without vision in his right eye. Puckett was diagnosed with glaucoma, and subsequent surgeries could not return his vision. Puckett was forced to announce his retirement on July 12 at the age of 36.  Puckett's #34 would be retired by the Twins the next year, and in 2001 Puckett was named a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The new millenium was not kind to Puckett, as controversy, weight, and illness followed. On March 5, 2006 Puckett suffered a massive stroke, and passed the next day at the age of 45. Puckett's untimely death was grieved by all of baseball. In 2010, as the Twins entered the new Target Field, a statue of Puckett was unveiled outside the ground.

Puckett remains a beloved son of Minnesota and one of the greatest outfielders of his era. Mitchell & Ness honors the late Kirby on the anniversary of his first and only All-Star Game MVP. Want to honor Puckett yourself? Check out our offering of authentic Puckett gear:

Minnesota Twins 1991 Home Jersey 

1991 Batting Practice Jersey

July 13, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Team USA Olympic Uniforms Throughout History

                               

Flo Jo and her nails. The Dream Team and their sublimated American flag warm-ups. These are just a few memories that come to mind when we think of uniforms and bold fashion statements of past Olympic games. With the 2012 Summer Olympics quickly approaching, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some Team USA uniforms from years ago. Go USA!

                               

                               

                               

                               

                               

                               

                               

                              

 

July 12, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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2012 NBA Free Agency - Hardwood Classics

This NBA offseason has been nothing if not interesting. We started off with Deron Williams deciding to move with the Nets to Brooklyn, who acquired Joe Johnson to join him. There has been the saga of Dwight Howard with where the talented and mercurial center will end up.

But perhaps more than anything, the old guys have been the story of the offseason. We've seen some legendary NBA veterans choosing new teams to finish their career and chase one last ring. Steve Nash worked out a sign-and-trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, as the point guard teams up with Kobe in an attempt to get the one ring which has eluded him his entire career. Ray Allen left Boston behind as he took his talents to South Beach, teaming up with the NBA Champion Miami Heat. And a year removed from his first NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd is NYC bound as he takes the reins of a Knicks team trying to become a contender in the East.

With these NBA legends landing in new places, let's take a look at where it all started:

Jason Kidd

Let us start with the oldest man of the trio, Jason Kidd. The Cal product was drafted 2nd overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994. A strong rookie season saw Kidd named Co-Rookie of the Year in 1995 with Grant Hill. Kidd's arrival was supposed to signal an era of winning for the Mavericks, as he teamed up with Jamal Mashburn and Jim Jackson to form the "Three J's." However, the trio were never able to achieve a winning season and left the franchise after three years. However, Kidd's play started to put his name on the map, earning the point guard a starting All-Star game spot in his second season.

However, with the era of the "Three J's" failing, the Mavs decided to rebuild. Kidd was traded to the Phoenix Suns with Tony Dumas and Loren Meyer for Michael FinleyA. C. Green, and Sam Cassell during the 1996–97 season. It would be in Phoenix where Kidd became a superstar, becoming a first team All-Pro and an Olympic gold medalist. If you want to get a jersey where it all started though, check out Kidd's rookie Mavs jersey:

Steve Nash

Next up fittingly is Steve Nash, whose career has always been intextricably linked to Jason Kidd's. Nash was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 1996, booed by the Suns fan that did not know of the Santa Clara product. But halfway through his rookie season Kidd arrived via trade, as the new arrival as well as Kevin Johnson kept Nash from getting minutes. However, in his second season Nash began to earn more minutes, and he made the most of them. Nash's distribution and 3-point shooting began to shine through.

Former Mavericks assistant Donnie Nelson had befriended Nash while the point guard was at Santa Clara. When Nelson's father Don took the helm of the Mavericks, the younger Nelson compelled his father to go after Nash. What happened after that is history. Following the 1998 NBA Draft, Nash was traded from the Suns to the Mavericks. Nash became a star in Dallas, given the opportunity for playing time. And six years later, when the Suns realized their mistake in trading Nash, they offered a huge offer to the point guard in the opening hours of free agency, as Nash returned to Phoenix to help build one of the NBA's best teams of the 2000's.

Mitchell & Ness has Nash's rookie Suns jersey, check it out:

 

Ray Allen

Ray Allen was drafted fifth overall in the '96 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who immediately traded him with Andrew Lang to the Milwaukee Bucks for 4th overall pick Stephon Marbury. A star at UConn, Allen was able to come in and make an immediate impact with the Bucks. Allen teamed up with Glenn Robinson for a pairing that would define Bucks' basketball of the era. When Sam Cassell arrived in 1999, the trio formed Allen's original "Big 3."

Allen's strong play also earned him a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, as well as a starring role in 1998 film "He Got Game." But Allen's Bucks could never reach their desired heights, peaking in a 2001 Eastern Conference Finals loss. Allen's time with the Bucks ended in 2003, when he was traded in a multi-player deal that sent him to the Seattle Supersonics with Gary Payton going the other way. Allen's time in Seattle would be one of individual accomplishment but little team achievement. That all changed when he was traded to the Celtics in 2007, as the new "Big 3" he formed with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce won the 2008 NBA Title.

Allen's rookie Bucks alternate jersey is available from Mitchell & Ness. Check out the big style on this one:

July 11, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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This Day in History: 1938 MLB All-Star Game

The 1938 MLB All-Star game was staged in Cincinnati's Crosley Field 74 years ago today. 22 future Hall of Famers were on the rosters that day. It was the sixth edition of the Midsummer's Classic, as the New York Giants' Bill Terry managed the National League and the Yankees' Joe McCarthy the American League.

The National League triumphed 4-1 that day, on the back of a great pitching performance from Johnny Vander Meer, Bill Lee, and Mace Brown. Defense doomed the AL that day, as four errors helped lead to three NL runs. Hall of Fame Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi led the offense for the NL, earning two hits and an RBI. Joe DiMaggio kept the AL from going scorless, stroking a line-drive RBI double in the 9th inning. The game saw a new crop of young players coming to take over for the golden generation of the late 20's and early 30's. A 19-year old Bob Feller earned his first All-Star Game honor that year while future Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer made his last All-Star Game appearance.

Want to get a jersey with some of the '38 participants? Here are some from the Cooperstown Collection:

Jimmie Foxx

Bob Feller

 

Joe DiMaggio

 

Lou Gehrig

July 6, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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Happy July 4th!

                        

Mitchell & Ness wishes you a Happy Independence Day! 

 

July 4, 2012 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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