As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
To begin the series we'll be looking at one iconic card from each team.
Iconic Twins card: Kirby Puckett, 1985 Topps
This was a popular submission, which isn’t surprising considering Puckett rose to prominence at the height of the golden age of baseball card collecting in the late 1980s and became one of the greatest players in Twins history.
“Having a 1985 Kirby Puckett rookie card for a kid growing up in the Twin Cities was like a kid owning a Mickey Mantle card in the '50s,” wrote Matthew Skovra. “From the moment Puckett began patrolling the outfield at the Metrodome, families would name their new puppies Kirby and kids in their backyard sandlot ballparks would imitate Puckett's high leg kick hitting style and practice robbing homers off the neighbor's garage.”
Selected third overall by the Twins in the 1982 MLB Draft, Puckett debuted two years later. The 5-foot-8 speedster made an immediate impact in the field, but he took a few years to develop into a powerhouse at the plate, eventually blossoming in '86 with a .328/.366/.537 slash line and 31 homers in 161 games.
Before his career ended prematurely due to an eye ailment, Puckett posted a .318 average with 2,304 hits, 207 homers, 1,085 RBIs, 1,071 runs and an .837 OPS in 12 seasons. He also won six Gold Glove Awards and helped Minnesota bring home two World Series crowns, in 1987 and ’91.
"Kirby was my dad’s favorite player growing up and an inspiration for all short baseball players [like me]," wrote Jack Lockart of Shelbyville, Ill. "The Twins old uniforms and logo are extra cool too."
Another submission came from Art Czepczynski of Duluth, Minn., who wrote:
“I immigrated to the U.S. as an 11-year-old kid in 1988 from Poland. I found out that some local team had won the World Series. I had no idea what baseball was, but I was curious about it when it came on TV. In 1990, my school took a trip to the Metrodome in Minneapolis and I realized this was the place that I was seeing all the games on TV. I learned the sport and I was hooked on baseball. The definitive Twin was Kirby Puckett, and watching him in the 1991 World Series solidified my love for baseball, the Twins and Kirby Puckett. I've had this card since I was a young kid.”