And yet, Kirby remains with me. We'll always have 1987. That magical year when a rag-tag bunch of players won it all. I was at games 6 and 7. I don't even remember clearly how it all happened. I remember sitting in the little notch of seats above center field, seeing Kirby go up against the glass to grab hits away from the batters. And in 1991, the crack of that last at-bat, the roar of the crowd. How I rushed out of the doors of the Metrodome in a cheering crowd, our Homer Hankies waving maniacally, and somehow ending up on the 10th Street bridge (I never remember the intervening blocks), running in traffic while people honked their horns in celebration.
That's what Kirby gave us. Day in and day out, he poured joy into this world. It built up a feedback loop that year and exploded with that one swing of the bat. Joy poured over the city, the state, the entire upper mid-west. And no one was happier than Puck. Pumping his fist and those stubby little legs of his as he trotted around the bases.
He was a man who never should have made it. Born in the wrong place, in a body that wasn't made for the game. His life shows us that anything is possible, that love and joy will carry you to heights you cannot imagine. The next time you find yourself thinking that it's all too much, that you can't do it, remember that lesson: pour all your heart and all your joy into it and you can make it happen. Kirby did it. You can too.