yesterday was the 19th anniversary of kirby puckett's final major league game. on september 28, 1995, he was hit in the face by dennis martinez in his first at bat of the game (the second player martinez had plunked in the inning) and was replaced by chip hale. the twins' starter hit albert belle with a pitch in the following inning for what it's worth. some believe that martinez's pitch contributed to puckett's deteriorating eyesight, but most agree that the glaucoma that was discovered the following spring was not related to his injury. without vision in his right eye, puckett retired. he was inducted into the hall of fame in 2001, but passed away from a stroke suffered just five years later, in march of 2006. during the 2006 season, the twins wore a '34' patch on their right sleeves.
here's a 2007 fleer justin morneau year in review insert showing the patch
the card uses the same photo as morneau's base card from 2007 fleer
morneau is showing the patch again on this 2009 upper deck team leaders card
note that the twins were still wearing the latter puckett era 'm' hats on the road, even though their helmets had reverted to the old 'tc' logo. here's jason kubel's 2006 upper deck card that also features the puckett patch
the twins sometimes wore a vest jersey at home in 2006, and when that was the case, the patch moved to the chest. there aren't any cards that i could find showing this (nobody wanted to come to the metrodome to take pictures for cards, i guess), but here's a photo from getty images that shows matt garza in the vest jersey.
the card that represents the patch in my collection is hunter's 2007 upper deck spectrum card
hunter is typically considered the heir to puckett's kingdom, although puck had moved to right field a couple of seasons before he was forced into retirement. still, hunter is a good flag bearer of this particular memorial.
in his 12-year career, puckett amassed over 2300 hits and at the time of his retirement, his .318 career average was the highest for a right-handed hitter since joe dimaggio. puckett was not quite 46 years old when he died.