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Hall of Fame Class of 2001

Kirby Puckett

  Kirby Puckett AP

Outfielder, 1984-95, Minnesota Twins ... Played with a flair and youthful enthusiasm that few have matched. ... The star of the Twins' 1987 and 1991 World Series championship teams, he led Minnesota to a key 4-3 victory in Game 6 in 1991 with a triple, single, spectacular catch and a game-winning home run. ... Like Mazeroski and Dave Winfield, he did not have an easy childhood -- he grew up in a housing project on Chicago's South Side -- and worked on an auto assembly line and as a census taker before signing to play baseball at Bradley University. ... Had four hits in his major league debut. ... Was a singles hitter upon arriving in the majors but later developed power. ... Played in 10 All-Star games. ... Turned down large contracts to remain in Minnesota. ... Hit .360 in spring training in 1996, only to learn late in camp that he had glaucoma. Could not resume playing despite having four eye operations and retired later that year. ... Ended his career with a .318 average, the best by a right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio. ... His 2,040 hits are the most by any player in his first 10 seasons.

Dave Winfield

 
Dave Winfield AP

Outfielder, 1973-80 (San Diego), 1981-90 (New York Yankees), 1990-91 (California), 1992 (Toronto), 1993-94 (Minnesota), 1995 (Cleveland) ... One of the most athletic players ever, the former two-sport star at Minnesota remains the only athlete to be drafted by major league baseball, the NBA and the NFL. ... One of seven players with 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. ... The overall No. 4 pick in the June 1973 draft - just behind Hall of Famer Robin Yount -- he jumped directly to the Padres without playing minor league baseball. Becomes the ninth Hall of Famer to spend his entire career in the majors. ... Won seven Gold Gloves, the first in 1979. ... Signed a then-record $23 million contract with the Yankees in 1981 and went on to average 27 homers in his seven full seasons with Yankees, driving in 100 or more runs six times. ... Won the 1992 World Series for Toronto with an 11th-inning, two-run double in Game 6 against Atlanta. ... Only four players had more hits and homers than Winfield: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray and Stan Musial.

Bill Mazeroski

 
Bill Mazeroski AP

Second Baseman, 1956-72, Pittsburgh Pirates: One of the best-fielding second baseman ever. According to Baseball Ratings, an exhaustive statistical analysis by historian Charles Faber, the best fielder at any position. ... Turned far more double plays than any 2B, was nicknamed 'No Touch' for his ability to flick a batted ball from his glove hand to his fielding hand without it touching the pocket of his glove. ... Teaming with SS Gene Alley in 1966, he turned 161 double plays, more than many teams today. ... His decisive ninth-inning home run in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series against the New York Yankees is one of baseball's magical moments and the most celebrated play in Pittsburgh sports history. ... Despite usually batting sixth or eighth, he led all major league middle infielders in RBIs during his peak years from 1957-67. ... The son of former minor league player Lew Mazeroski, who lost part of a foot in a mining accident and wanted his son to stay out of the mines. ... Grew up in a one-room house in eastern Ohio and paid for his first glove by digging an outhouse for his uncle. ... Broke into the majors at 19 in 1956 and won the first of his eight Gold Gloves a year later. ... Hit into a triple play in the 1968 movie "The Odd Couple" -- a role teammate Roberto Clemente rejected - but never did so in a major league game.

Hilton Smith

 
Hilton Smith AP

Right-hander pitcher, 1930s-1940s, Negro League ... Though Negro League statistics are incomplete, he won 20 or more games in each of his 12 years with Kansas City. ... Was 25-1 in 1941. ... Once pitched a no-hitter in which only two balls left the infield. ... Despite being a star, often was the pitcher who took over after Satchel Paige pitched the first inning or two. Paige frequently was billed as the starter to boost attendance. ... Smith's curveball was regarded as the best in the Negro League. ... Was 6-1 in exhibition games against major league teams. ... A good hitter, he frequently played outfield or first base when he wasn't pitching.

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