Bill Buckner and The Boston Red Sox

April 8, 2008

I realize that I have already posted today but I just watched something that made the baseball player in me come alive. Today was the Boston Red Sox home opener and they also presented the team with their World Championship rings from the previous year. It was just a great day for the “nation” all in all. But, perhaps the most awesome, grateful thing I saw was the ovation the fans gave the individual who threw out the first pitch…former Red Sox first basemen, Bill Buckner.

Now for those of you who don’t follow baseball, Bill Buckner was the guy who let the ball literally roll between his legs in game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Here is the play (posted by a Mets fan btw)…

Boston led the best-of-7 series 3 games to 2, and had a two-run lead with two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning. New York came back to tie the game with three straight singles off Calvin Schiraldi and a wild pitch by pitcher Bob Stanley. Mookie Wilson fouled off several pitches before hitting a ground ball to Buckner at first base. The ball rolled under Buckner’s glove, through his legs, and into right field, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run, forcing a seventh game, which the Mets won.

Keep in mind that the Boston Red Sox have only recently won their first World Series in over 70 something years, I think, in 04 and then last season. Ever since that day in 1986, Bill Buckner has been remembered (mainly by the media) only for this one play in that one game of the World Series. The media has made him out to be the enemy of Boston…these are mainly writers who have never put on a jock strap in their lives much less play an inning of baseball or any other organized sport for that matter but are suddenly an expert and pass judgement on a human being for making a physical error in a tough sport….man, I could preach sermon a on this right now but I won’t.

Here is the tragedy…Bill Buckner was a great Major League Baseball player. He finished his career with a almost .300 average, over 2700 hits and over 1200 RBI, a batting title, etc…a great career in an extremely….let me stress that again…an EXTREMELY difficult game. The single hardest thing to do athletically is hit a baseball, period. There is nothing tougher than hitting a round ball with a round bat and hitting that ball “square.” Trust me on this one. I could write an entire other post about the difficulty, yet greatness, of baseball…and I just may later.

However, today the Boston Red Sox fans stood to their feet and gave Bill Buckner a 4 minute ovation. WOW! This is exactly what he deserves. It wasn’t his fault they lost the 86′ series and the FANS know that…the media has made it out to be the exact opposite. Buckner stood there obviously emotionally moved…it was just a great scene. Afterwards, he said he never had animosity towards the fans…only the media but that he forgave them for what they had put him and his family through. Unbelievable…what a man! You could just tell it was an awesome day for him to come back to Fenway. Someone has already posted a video of the first pitch today…

Finally, here’s one for a “what if”…Did you know that Game 7 of that same 86′ series ended with the Red Sox down by only 1, with a runner on 2nd and the batter struck out for the 3rd out to end the game. Guess who was on deck?…Bill Buckner.

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3 Responses to “Bill Buckner and The Boston Red Sox”

  1. One Ole Dude Says:

    And did you know that Billy B was the first (not one of the first, the first) to wear the later most popular “high top” baseball shoes. But Billy B wasn’t trying to make a fashion statement by any means. Most of those 21 years he played MLB was played on ankles that were so bad that he literally couldn’t stand on them the morning after playing a game, and actually spent most of his non game days in the bed, trying to recoup enough to play the next day. And in his day, they scheduled at least 8-10 doubleheaders every season, plus the rain-outs and ole Billy B with the bad ankles and ugly shoes… well he played ’em all.

    Great tribute to a great major league baseball player, who BTW played with three of the most storied baseball franchises of all time… The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Any of you young(er) guys who want to look for an athlete role model to point your sons to… well, A-Rod, DJ, Chipper and Tex are pretty good ones, but for my money, here’s a pretty good one too.

    Sela… OOD

  2. Erik G Says:

    Very classy move by the Sox

  3. Ken C. Says:

    As a former classmate of Bill at Napa High School, I can only say…IT’S ABOUT TIME. Thanks for the memories Billy Bucks. Us Rancho del Mar kids gotta stick together.


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