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PUCKETT WAS BAD CHOICE

On Jan. 16 Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor that most ballplayers do not achieve.

Dave Winfield deserved to be elected because he compiled his good statistics over a 22-year period. However Kirby Puckett did not.

Puckett's statistics are similar to Don Mattingly's and Donnie Baseball did not even come close to being elected. Puckett never had the years that Don Mattingly did. For six years Mattingly had DiMaggio and Mantle-like statistics before a back injury and carpel tunnel syndrome reduced him to a mere mortal. Whereas Kirby Puckett had basically an injury-free career.

Finally Kirby Puckett does not deserve election to the Hall of Fame because his numbers pale in comparison to Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays (both first ballot), Joe DiMaggio (third ballot) and Duke Snider (11 ballots), not to mention Sam Crawford (Veterans Committee). Dale Murphy and Fred Lynn are not in and they had better statistics than Puckett. And after 12 years Ken Griffey Jr. has blown Puckett out of the water.

In conclusion, if Puckett does not come close to legendary center fielders he does not belong in the Hall of Fame and if Don Mattingly is not in, Puckett should not be either.
TIMOTHY SPENCE
Orchard Park

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