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I am leaving this page a little open ended.  I am planning to write about player use characteristics adding a new player periodically. I am comfortable with a couple players and their use characteristics.  However, I am hoping that visitors will email me with information regarding unique use characteristics of player's bat that they have observed.  

 

Past featured players

Harmon Killebrew use characteristics Wade Boggs use characteristics
George Brett use characteristics Kirby Puckett use characteristics
Joe Mauer use characteristics Eddie Murray use characteristics

Current featured player

KIRBY PUCKETT

Written 2006

 

 

 

Player Kirby Puckett
Bat Specifications Kirby Puckett came up with the Minnesota Twins in 1984 and remained with the team until an eye ailment forced his untimely retirement in 1996.  During that time Puck recorded 2304 hits, over 200 hrs, over 1,000 runs and RBI, and batted .318.  He was elected to 10 consecutive All Star games and let the Twins to two World Championships in 1987 and 1991.  Although not a long career, Kirby Puckett accomplished a lot.  To accomplish these feats, Kirby no doubt went through a lot of bats   In this section I will outline some of the different bats the Puck used during his career.  In terms o f bat length, they varied from 33.5-36" with 34-34.5 being the most common.  In addition, bat weights seem to vary from 31-33 oz with a very few exceptions with bats weighing as much as 36 oz.  Listed below are all of the different models ordered by Kirby throughout his career.

 

1984-85 Labeling period:

Puckett pre-rookie bats include several R43C models and one order of D2s  During the 84-85 labeling period, Kirby ordered R43 and S318Cs primarily with R43C, C243 and B267C being ordered on just a handful of occasions. 

 

1986-89 labeling period

Throughout the 1986-89 labeling period, Puck primarily used C243s.  On rare occasions it appears that R43, S226, P116, R161and R206 were also sent to the Twins on Puckett's behalf.

 

1990 Labeling period

In 1990 Puck used C243 and P116 exclusively with them being cupped on occasion. 

 

1991-95 Labeling period

Finally, during the 91-95 labeling period, Kirby ordered C243s, P116, and P339 most often.  It was during this time that Puck made a one time offer of 12 I13s and used other models including P89 and M159s.

 

B262 B267C C243 C243C D2
I13 M159 M159C P89 P116
P116C P339 R43 R43C R161
R161C R206 R206C S226 S318C
W215C        
Information regarding Puckett bat orders are compliments of Jim Caravello....Thanks Jim!
Use Characteristics Kirby Puckett is one of my favorite players.  My personal collection focuses in large part on the five Minnesota Twins players who have their uniform numbers retired (Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Kent Hrbek and, of course, Kirby Puckett).  Over the past 10 years I have owned a countless number of Puckett game used bats.  I would speculate to say about 20 in total.  This has included two of his elusive All Star bats as well as bats from every period of his career   Based on my personal observations, it is clear to me that as Puckett evolved as a player, his bat use characteristics seem to have evolved as well.  There are several items that can be commonly found on Puckett gamers throughout his career that are worth noting when examining Puckett gamers.  These items include pine tar use, tape use, and knob/barrel markings.  I will outline my observations in each of these areas:

PINE TAR

Pine tar has been one of the things that Puckett has used consistently throughout his career.  Although the application of the pine tar has varied to some degree, it is consistently found on the majority of authentic Puckett gamers that I have owned.  Early on in his career there appears to be a heavier concentration high on the handle, just below the center labeling with a portion of it naturally filtering down to the lower handle area (see 1986-89 Puckett bat as well as Puckett photos below).  Whereas, later in Pucks career the pine tar seems more evenly distributed along the length of the entire handle (see 1991-95 bat photos below)

TAPE

I have found several photos as well as have owned several examples of early Puckett bats with a tape wrapped handle (see Puckett photos below).  In these instances, the tape generally runs 8-9" up the handle from the knob.  This appears to be most prominent between 1984-1986. 

It appears that Puck began using Tape again somewhat later in his career during the 91-95 labeling period.  I have owned numerous Puck bats from this era with a fairly even split between bats with tape and without tape.  During this period, the tape application is most commonly applied in a criss-cross or spiral wrapped style.

SHAVED HANDLE

In lieu of tape, at some point during the 1990s began to shave the handles of his bats.  This is often more difficult to pick up in blond bats but is abundantly clear in many of the black colored 1991-95 Puckett Louisville Slugger bats that I have owned and seen.

KNOB & BARREL MARKINGS

Probably the most unique feature of Puck bats are the knob and barrel markings.  One interesting note is the change style of "34" added to his bats.  Very commonly, the older Puckett bats (84-85 and 86-89) have an "open" 4 style while the later 86-89 bats and 91-95 era bats demonstrate a "closed" 4 style (please knob photo examples below). 

Another common characteristic that I have seen with Puck bats is for him to include the word "WIN" on the either the knob or barrel end.  Often times in some ornate or clever manner.  In addition, in lieu of his uniform number, I have owned several examples with either "KIRBY" or "PUCK" written on the knob or barrel end.

Puckett pine tar and tape application

The top bat is an 84-85 era Puckett gamer and the other four are 86-89 era Pucks.

Notice the tape application on the top three bats.  Based on the bats that I have owned and photos I have studied, it appears that this is a characteristic displayed by Puck from around the time of his call up in 1984 until sometime in 1987.

 

Also, notice that three of the bats have a concentration of pine starting approximately 10-11" up on the handle to just below the center oval in all three photos.   This is a characteristic that can been seen commonly on Puck bats starting in about 1986 through the end of his career in 1995

1991-95 Puckett Gamer

Notice the criss-cross tape in the top three photos.  The criss-cross tape appears exclusively in 1991-95 era Puckett gamers.

 

In addition, the 1990s, we see Puckett using more pine tar and shaving his handles.  An example of a shaved handle is most apparent in the fifth bat down. 

Thanks to Brent Bagnall for some of the additional Puckett bat photos...Thanks Brent!

Puckett Knob and barrel  Markings
Notice the vintage "open 4" above and the more common "closed" 4 on the bottom. In addition, there a few examples of Kirby adding "WIN" to his bats as well as a multi-colored "KIRBY" in lieu of his uniform number to identify his bats in the bat rack.

 

Knob markings demonstrating the earlier "open 4" version of Puck's 34 

circa 1984-86 puck Photos demonstrating the wrapped tape handle as well as pine tar application 

 

 

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