Whenever any Twins fan hears those words, they get chills. They immediately think of Kirby Puckett's game-winning homerun against the Braves forcing game 7 of the 1991 World Series*.
Baseball lost a hero yesterday when Kirby died. People of my generation associate Twins baseball with Kirby and his too short career. They think of his dedication to the team, the fans, the state. They think of him before that fateful game 6 when he told his team, "get on my back cuz I'm gonna carry you." That he did.
We all ackowledge we wasn't the perfect man, but he was a damned near perfect baseball player. He was one of the last of the great "small-ball" players, advancing runners with bunts, sac flies, taking walks when needed. Not always swinging for the fences though when he did it was impressive. He was one of the last players to spend a prolific career in one place wearing no jersey other than a Twins jersey, number 34. People like to speculate on what kind of player Kirby would have been if his career hadn't ended when he got Glaucoma, sending the Twins into "the dark ages" of the mid- and late-90s.
The Twins of today are heavily influenced by Kirby in their strong defensive playing and their team mentality, still playing small-ball when they can. Torii Hunter patrols the outfield and robs homeruns citing Kirby as his inspiration.
Twins fans, Minnesotans, baseball fans and players alike- we'll all miss you, Kirby.
*Dean was at that game and I have always been immensely jealous. Also, game 7 of the 1991 World Series is known as arguably the best World Series game ever played. Kirby had little to do with that, but it was because of him the Twins made it to game 7. Jack Morris pitched 10 shutout innings. The Twins won by stringing together singles (small ball) in the bottom of the tenth, winning 1-0 and the title of World Champions for the second time in four years. Those were the days.