At the Dome, fans show their love for Kirby Puckett

Makeshift memorial
Fans of former Minnesota Twin Kirby Puckett have been adding photos, notes and other memorabilia to a makeshift memorial outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

Fans have built a 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 memorial or take pictures. Others bring candles, flowers and pictures. There's even a box of Wheaties with the 1987 World Championship team on it.

Wheaties box
This Wheaties box featured the Minnesota Twins after they won the World Series.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

"I put up that sign right there," says Lois Marshall, pointing to a cardboard sign attached to the railing outside the ticket office.

"'We will always love you. Rest in peace in God's hall of fame,'" she reads. "And that's where he is now. And hey, we all gotta go that way someday."

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 helped his team win champtionships. He was a man from humble beginnings in a violent neighborhood, who made the most of his opportunities.

Signs around the Metrodome
Twins fans have placed signs, candles, flowers and other memorabilia outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis, in honor of Kirby Puckett, who died Monday.
MPR Photo/Brandt Williams

"He was from Chicago and I'm from Indiana. So I know how that is," Marshall says. "For him to come here and play the game like he did, it's just to show a lot of these young kids that you can put these guns down and you can be somebody like he was."

She was not the only mourner thinking about kids.

"I came down here mainly to take pictures to show these kids that I'm working with now," says Rick Haglund.

Haglund lives in downtown Minneapolis not far from the Metrodome.

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"I work in north Minneapolis, right off of Lowry and Emerson, where there's been a lot of shootings and stuff. Just to give these kids hope and moving on," Haglund says.

Dave Halvorsen's contribution to the memorial is a soundtrack, in the form of a radio dialed to a sports radio call-in show. The show is dedicated to Puckett.

Halvorsen says he met Puckett once and got an autographed baseball card.

"[It's] not for sale," he says. "I'll give it to the grandkids when they get old enough."

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

Crying
There is crying in baseball, says one fan.
MPR Photo/Nikki Tundel

"Oh, he was a wonderful man," says Niemi, fighting back tears. "We'll miss him."

Twins fans who have yet to pay their respects to Puckett will have another opportunity to do so.

Twins officials say they are planning a public memorial. They are still working out details with Puckett's family, so they don't know yet when it will happen. But they do know where -- at the Metrodome, 34 Kirby Puckett Place.

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