The Word: An Ode To Bill Buckner-More Than A Punchline
Former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner passed away this past weekend at the young age of 69 due to dementia. Most of you, if not all of you will remember him for this infamous play in the 1986 World Series during Game 6:
This was a terribly timed error, there's no doubt about it, Red Sox fans would taunt and haunt Buckner for so many years but he would be welcomed back to Fenway. He threw out the first pitch of the 2008 Red Sox Opening Day game after they won the 2007 World Series.
However, most people don't know that he was an exceptional baseball player who played at a high level for 22 years with five different teams. He played eight years for the Los Angeles Dodgers/Chicago Cubs, five for the Boston Red Sox, and two years each for the Kansas City Royals/California Angels.
Over those 22 years Buckner collected 2,715 hits, he was a lifetime .289 hitter, walked nearly as much as he struck out (never struck out three times in a game), over 1,200 RBI's, over 1,000 runs scored, and nearly 500 doubles. He was a one-time All-Star, finished Top-20 in MVP voting four times.
The best season he had was in 1985 at age 35 with the Boston Red Sox where he hit .299 with 110 RBI's, 46 doubles, scored 89 runs, and slugged 16 homeruns.
It's too bad that one play can define a career and a legacy but I'm here to tell you that more people should appreciate what Buckner did over the 22 years of his career. A lesser man would have crumbled under the scrutiny but Buckner got to the point where he was taking and signing pictures with Mets Mookie Wilson who hit the infamous ground ball Bill couldn't field...