Bill Buckner

William Joseph Buckner (December 14, 1949 – May 27, 2019) was an American first baseman and left fielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for five teams from 1969 through 1990, most notably the Chicago Cubs, the LA Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. Beginning his career as an outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he helped the team to the 1974 pennant with a .314 batting average, but a serious ankle injury the next year eventually led to his trade to the Cubs prior to the 1977 season. The Cubs moved him to first base, and he enjoyed his greatest success with the team, winning the National League (NL) batting title in 1980 with a .324 mark, and being named to the All-Star team the following season as he led the major leagues in doubles. After setting a major league record for first basemen with 159 assists in 1982, he surpassed that total with 161 in 1983 while again leading the NL in doubles, before feuds with team management over the loss of playing time resulted in a trade to the Red Sox in the middle of the 1984 season.

During the 1985 season, Buckner emerged as the Red Sox stalwart first baseman, starting all 162 games and shattering his own record with 184 assists. Toward the end of the 1986 season, he was hobbled by leg injuries and struggled throughout the playoffs. His tenth-inning error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets remains one of the most memorable plays in baseball history; it was long considered part of a curse on the Boston Red Sox that kept them from winning the World Series,[1][2] and led to years of fan anger and public mockery that Buckner handled graciously before being embraced by Red Sox fans again after their 2004 World Series victory.

After spending his last few seasons with the California Angels, Kansas City Royals, and a second stint with the Red Sox, Buckner became the 21st player in major league history to play in four decades, ending his career with 2,715 hits and 498 doubles, having batting over .300 seven times with three seasons of 100 runs batted in (RBI). Never striking out 40 times in a season, he finished with the fifth lowest strikeout rate among players whose careers began after 1950. He led his league in assists four times, with his 1985 mark remaining the American League (AL) record, and retired with the fourth-most assists in major league history by a first baseman (1,351), despite not playing the position regularly until he was 27. After retiring as a player, he became a real estate developer in Idaho, and later coached a number of minor league teams before leaving baseball in 2014.

Bill Buckner
Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox
Buckner with the Boston Red Sox
First baseman / Outfielder
Born: December 14, 1949
Vallejo, California
Died: May 27, 2019 (aged 69)
Boise, Idaho
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 21, 1969, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
May 30, 1990, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.289
Hits2,715
Home runs174
Runs batted in1,208
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Buckner was born in Vallejo, California and grew up in nearby American Canyon. He and his brothers Bob and Jim, and Jim's twin sister Jan, were raised by their parents, Leonard and Marie Katherine Buckner; his father died in 1966, when Bill was a teenager. His mother was a stenographer for the California Highway Patrol.[3][4]

He graduated from Napa High School in 1968 after playing on the school's baseball and football teams. While playing football, he was a two-time All-State receiver and also achieved All-America honors twice.[5][6]

As a baseball player at Napa High School, Buckner hit .667 in 1967 and .529 in 1968 under coach Dale Fisher. As a football player, Buckner is still in the Napa record lists for reception yards in a season (579), career reception yards (963), and career receptions (61). At first, Buckner contemplated attending Stanford or USC, but he eventually chose professional baseball instead.[7][4]

Buckner was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 1968 Major League Baseball draft; his friend Bobby Valentine was the Dodgers' first-round pick. Upon signing with the Dodgers, Buckner was assigned to the Ogden Dodgers of the Pioneer League. He also briefly attended Los Angeles Valley College, USC and Arizona State University. He became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity while a farmhand with the Dodgers, and roomed with Valentine while attending USC after his first professional season.[8]

Career

Minor leagues (1968–1970)

At age 18, Buckner made his professional debut playing with the Ogden Dodgers of the Rookie Pioneer league in 1968, hitting .344 with 4 home runs and 44 RBI in 64 games. He was teammates with Valentine and Steve Garvey, who also were playing in their first professional seasons. The manager at Ogden was Tommy Lasorda.[9][10]

In 1969, Buckner played with four Dodger teams, as he advanced quickly in the Dodgers' farm system. He hit .350 with 6 home runs and 36 RBI in 46 games with the Dodgers team in the Arizona Instructional League. He then batted .307 with 7 home runs and 50 RBI with the Class AA Albuquerque Dodgers, and .315 with 2 home runs and 27 RBI in 36 games with the Class AAA Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League. While at Spokane, Buckner's manager was once again Lasorda.[9] Buckner was called up to the Dodgers late in the season at age 19, popping up to second base as a pinch hitter for Jim Brewer in the 9th inning of a 4-3 road loss to the San Francisco Giants on September 21 in his only appearance.[11]

Buckner spent April 1970 with the Dodgers, picking up his first hit in a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on April 8, but after batting .121 with no home runs or RBI, he was returned to Triple-A Spokane, where he played 111 games under Lasorda after he was given leave to complete finals at USC. He hit .335 with 3 home runs and 74 RBI, playing alongside Garvey, Valentine, Davey Lopes, Tom Paciorek, Bill Russell, Charlie Hough, and Doyle Alexander, among others. Buckner played most of the 1970 season with a broken jaw and with his jaw wired shut. Spokane finished 94–52, and Buckner was again called up to the Dodgers in September.[12][13] He batted .257 in the final month, with 4 RBI and 5 runs scored.

Los Angeles Dodgers (1971–1976)

Buckner earned a starting job with the Dodgers in 1971 as their opening-day right fielder, and hit his first career home run off Don Wilson of the Houston Astros on April 6, providing the only scoring in a 2-0 road win. Buckner also played some first base with the Dodgers, making 87 starts at first in 1973. However, when Steve Garvey emerged as a Gold Glove first baseman and the National League's Most Valuable Player the following season, Buckner was shifted to left field permanently. Buckner played a supporting role in a baseball milestone on April 8, 1974. Playing left field, he climbed the fence in an attempt to catch Hank Aaron's record 715th home run. He also played in his first World Series that year, which the Dodgers lost to the Oakland Athletics in five games; Buckner hit .250 in the Series, including a home run off Catfish Hunter in Game 3, a 3-2 road loss.

In his Dodgers career, Buckner batted .289 with 38 home runs and 277 runs batted in in 773 games.[14]

Chicago Cubs (1977–1984)

Bill Buckner 810611
Buckner batting at Wrigley Field on June 11, 1981

Following the 1976 season, Buckner was traded with Iván DeJesús and Jeff Albert to the Chicago Cubs for Rick Monday and Mike Garman. He had suffered a staph infection in his ankle in 1976, so the Cubs shifted him to first base, the playing position where he remained for the final 14 years of his career.

Whereas early indications seemed to lean toward the Dodgers getting the better end of this deal – with Monday becoming one of the key centerpieces of the Dodgers clubs that went to the 1977 and 1978 World Series – Buckner soon emerged as something of a star for the beleaguered Cubs. On May 17, 1979, in a famous slugfest at Wrigley Field in which the Cubs lost 23-22 to the Philadelphia Phillies, with three homers by Dave Kingman and two by Mike Schmidt, Buckner went 4–for–7 with a grand slam off Tug McGraw and a career-high seven RBI.[15] But when manager Herman Franks resigned late in the season, he made negative comments about several players, including calling Buckner "nuts".[16]

In 1980 Buckner won the NL batting title with a .324 average. He also struck out only 18 times – once every 32 at bats – batting in front of Kingman. Keith Hernandez (.321) and Garry Templeton (.319) finished just behind Buckner in the race for the NL batting title.[17][18] In the strike-interrupted 1981 season, he batted .311 while tying Cecil Cooper for the major league lead with 35 doubles; he was the Cubs' sole representative at the All-Star Game,[19] where he grounded out to first base pinch hitting for Manny Trillo in the 9th inning of a 5-4 NL victory, their 10th consecutive All-Star win. In 1982 Buckner batted over .300 for the fourth time in Chicago, picked up a career-high 201 hits, drove in 105 runs – the first time he had topped 75 – and recorded 159 assists at first base, breaking Mickey Vernon's 1949 major league record of 155. In 1983 he again led the NL with 38 doubles, but saw his batting average drop to .280, his lowest mark in eight years.

During the 1984 season, Buckner saw a loss of playing time at first base to Leon Durham. Because of his lack of playing time, Buckner was at odds with the Cubs management; in protest, he vowed not to shave until he played two games in a row at first base. Buckner finally shaved between games of a doubleheader on May 24, because he found out he was going to be traded the next day to the Boston Red Sox[20]; the Cubs went on to win their division, reaching the postseason for the first time in 39 years. In eight seasons with the Cubs, Buckner hit .300 with 81 home runs, 235 doubles, and 516 RBI in 974 games.[21]

Boston Red Sox (1984–1987)

Early in the 1984 season, the Red Sox were in the market for an upgrade at first base. On May 25, they acquired Buckner from the Cubs for Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley. The Red Sox were 19–25 and in sixth place in the American League East at the time of the trade, but improved to 67–51 the rest of the way to finish the season in fourth place. On September 21, Buckner enjoyed the first five-hit game of his career in an 8-0 road win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Buckner appeared in all 162 games for the Red Sox in 1985, and batted .299 with 16 home runs while posting career highs with 110 RBI, 201 hits and 46 doubles. He was a prototypical contact hitter, and struck out just 36 times in 719 plate appearances to lead the American League in that category in 1985. (He also led the NL in most at bats per strikeout in 1980, 1982 and 1986, and placed second in 1979, 1981, 1983, and 1987.) In 1985 he also extended his own major league record for assists in a season with 184. The record stood for almost 25 years until the St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols broke Buckner's record with 185 assists in 2009.

On June 5, 1986, Buckner picked up his 1,000th career RBI on a ground out in a 7-5 road loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. On August 21, he again had five hits in a blowout 24-5 road win over the Cleveland Indians. In September, he hit .340 with 8 home runs and 22 RBI, while missing just 3 games in spite of chronic ankle soreness. Dave Stapleton, the Red Sox first baseman prior to the acquisition of Buckner, began seeing more playing time as a late-inning defensive replacement in September and October. Meanwhile, Buckner became the first major league player to wear Nike high-top baseball cleats professionally in an effort to relieve pressure on his ankles. That season, Buckner hit a career-high 18 home runs, drove in more than 100 runs for the second season in a row, and was a key member of the team that won the American League East by 5-1/2 games. He entered Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Series batting just .111 in the Series, and was 0–for–3 in the game when he singled to start a ninth-inning rally which was capped off by Dave Henderson's famous home run. He went 3–for–6 in the final 2 games as the Red Sox came back from the brink of elimination to defeat the California Angels and win the American League pennant.

1986 World Series

Billbuckner
Buckner watches his misplayed ground ball as Mookie Wilson goes to first.

The 1986 Red Sox were leading the heavily favored New York Mets 3 games to 2 in the 1986 World Series when Game 6 went into extra innings. For his part, Buckner was batting just .143 against Mets pitching, and he was 0–for–5 in Game 6. When the Sox scored 2 runs in the top of the tenth, Boston manager John McNamara chose to have Buckner take the field in the bottom of the inning instead of bringing Stapleton in as a defensive replacement for the ailing Buckner, as he had in Games 1, 2, and 5.[22]

With two outs and no one on base, New York struck back with three straight singles off Calvin Schiraldi, and tied the game on a wild pitch by Bob Stanley. Mookie Wilson fouled off several pitches before hitting a slow roller to Buckner at first base. Aware of Wilson's speed, Buckner tried to rush the play. As a result, the ball rolled to the left side of his glove,[23] through his legs, and into right field, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run from second base.[24] Had Buckner fielded the ball with Wilson safe at first, the score would have remained tied for the next Mets batter. Had Buckner put out Wilson at first base, Game 6 would have gone to an 11th inning.

Boston led Game 7 by a 3–0 score heading into the bottom of the sixth inning when New York rallied again, scoring 3 runs off Bruce Hurst to tie the game, and 3 more off of Schiraldi in the seventh to take a 6–3 lead. Buckner was 2–for–4 in the game, and scored 1 of Boston's 2 runs in the eighth. However, the Mets also scored twice in the eighth and won 8–5, for their second World Series championship in franchise history.[25]

Fallout

Regardless of any of the other perceived shortcomings that led to Boston's loss in the 1986 World Series, Buckner's error epitomized the "Curse of the Bambino" in the minds of Red Sox fans, and he soon became the scapegoat for a frustrated fan base.[26] Buckner began receiving death threats and was heckled and booed by some of his own home fans, often with the false belief or implication that his play alone could have instantly won the series for the Red Sox.[27] Meanwhile, he was the focal point of derision from the fans of opposing teams on the road—especially when he faced the Mets in spring training of 1987—and during his first regular-season at bat at Yankee Stadium.[28] He made his 2,500th career hit on May 19, an RBI single in a 4-1 road loss to the Kansas City Royals, but the Red Sox released Buckner on July 23 after he recorded a .273 batting average, 2 home runs, and 42 RBI in 75 games.[29]

California Angels (1987–1988)

Upon his release from the Red Sox, Buckner signed with the California Angels. For the remainder of the 1987 season, Buckner batted .306 and drove in 32 runs in 57 games. In 76 total games with the Angels, Buckner hit .288 with 3 home runs and 41 RBI.[30]

Kansas City Royals (1988–1989)

At 38 years old, Buckner was released by the Angels on May 9, 1988 just before a road trip that would have brought him to the east coast to face the Yankees and Red Sox. He signed with the Royals shortly after his release and walked into Fenway Park as a player for the opposing team for the first time on July 15. He went 1–for–2 off Roger Clemens with a walk.[31]

In 168 games with the Royals, Buckner hit .239 with 4 home runs and 50 RBI.[32]

Boston Red Sox II (1990)

Buckner returned to the Red Sox in 1990 as a free agent and received a standing ovation from the crowd during player introductions at the home opener on April 9.[33]

Buckner's last home run was against Kirk McCaskill on April 25, 1990 at Fenway Park, the only inside-the-park home run of his career. Despite his infamous bad legs, the 40-year-old Buckner circled the bases in the fourth inning when Angels outfielder Claudell Washington fell into the grandstands behind the short right field wall while attempting to retrieve Buckner's drive over Washington's head.[34]

His return was short-lived; he retired on June 5 with a .186 batting average, 1 home run, and 3 RBI. In 526 career games with Boston, Buckner hit .279 with 48 home runs, 112 doubles, and 324 RBI.[35]

Career stats

Buckner was a speedy baserunner until his ankle surgeries in 1975 and 1976 for a severe ankle sprain and bone chips, respectively. He twice finished in the top 10 in the league in stolen bases (1974 and 1976) and twice led the league in doubles (1981 and 1983). After moving to first base, he played 1,555 regular-season games and made only 128 errors in 13,901 chances.

Bill Buckner
Buckner signing autographs in 2011

In 2,517 games over 22 seasons, Buckner batted .289 (2,715–for–9,397) with 1,077 runs scored, 498 doubles, 49 triples, 174 home runs, 1,208 RBI, 183 stolen bases, 450 walks, an on-base percentage of .321, and a slugging percentage of .408. Defensively, he recorded a .991 fielding percentage at first base and at left and right field.

Post-playing career

After Buckner retired from baseball, he moved his family to Idaho where he invested in real estate in the Boise area. One of the housing subdivisions that he developed is named "Fenway Park". He lent his name to and was a minority owner of a local car dealership, Bill Buckner Motors in Emmett, which was in business from 2006 to 2008.

On April 8, 2008, Buckner threw out the first pitch to former teammate Dwight Evans at the Red Sox home opener as they unfurled their 2007 World Series championship banner. He received a two-minute standing ovation from the sell-out crowd. After the game, when asked if he had any second thoughts about appearing at the game, he said, "I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston, per se, but I would have to say in my heart I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through. So, you know, I've done that and I'm over that."[36]

On January 4, 2011, Buckner was named the manager of the Brockton Rox of the Can-Am League.[37][38] The Rox posted a 51–42 record in 2011, but after the season, the Rox dropped the professional format to join the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. In December, Buckner became the hitting instructor for the Boise Hawks for the 2012 season. The Hawks were the Chicago Cubs affiliate in the Class A-Short Season Northwest League.[39][40] Buckner announced his retirement from baseball on March 3, 2014.[41] Buckner was inducted into the Napa High School Hall Of Fame in 1997[42][43] and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2010.[44]

Personal life

Buckner and his wife Jody had two daughters, Brittany and Christen, and a son, Bobby. Bobby was a member of the Texas A&M–Corpus Christi Islanders baseball team.[45]

Death

Buckner died on May 27, 2019 of Lewy body dementia.[46] He was surrounded by his family members at the time of his death.[47]

In a statement, Buckner's family said, "Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."[48]

References in popular culture

Charlie Sheen purchased the "Buckner Ball" at auction in 1992 for $93,000, and for a long time, it resided in the collection of songwriter Seth Swirsky, who refers to it as the "Mookie Ball."[49] The ball was on loan for a time from Swirsky to the Mets to display in their Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, and it was among the most popular artifacts for fans to see. On May 3, 2012, Swirsky sold the ball through Heritage Auctions for $418,250.[50][51][52]

Buckner made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the sports parody film The Comebacks and was featured in an episode of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm.[53] Also, he made a cameo appearance in the pilot episode of the short-lived sitcom Inside Schwartz, advising the title character to "just let it go." His famous 1986 World Series miscue is also referenced in the films Celtic Pride, Rounders,[54] and Fever Pitch. The play also is referenced in an episode of The Simpsons titled "Brother's Little Helper"[55] and in the musical Johnny Baseball.[56] On October 23, 2008, during former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's testimony in House hearings on the economic crisis of 2008, Representative John Yarmuth referred to Greenspan as one of "three Bill Buckners."[57] Buckner and Mookie Wilson appeared in an MLB Network commercial for the 2016 postseason, "Catching Up", marking the 30th anniversary of the 1986 World Series and their roles in it.[58]

Buckner is mentioned in The Areas of My Expertise in a series of New England sports references. In the book, John Hodgman describes a (fictional) radio personality and recounts the premonition she had regarding Buckner's infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.[59]

See also

References

  1. ^ Smith, Ron; Foreword by Joe Morgan. "The Sporting News Selects Baseball's 25 Greatest Moments, #8 E-3". The Sporting News. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06.
  2. ^ Vecsey, George (28 October 1986). "Babe Ruth Curse Strikes Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  3. ^ James, Marty (May 20, 2010). "AmCan's Buckner to enter Sac-Joaquin Section shrine". Napa Valley Register/American Canyon Eagle. Napa, California. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Bill Buckner - Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org.
  5. ^ James, Marty (June 13, 2011). "A high-flying Hall of Famer". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  6. ^ James, Marty (February 3, 2009). "Still talkin' baseball". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "Bill Buckner*".
  8. ^ https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/444a4659
  9. ^ a b "Bill Buckner Independent Leagues Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com.
  10. ^ "1968 Ogden Dodgers Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  11. ^ "San Francisco Giants 4, Los Angeles Dodgers 3". Baseball-Reference.com. 1969-09-21.
  12. ^ "1970 Spokane Indians Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  13. ^ https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/444a4659
  14. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bucknbi01.shtml
  15. ^ "Philadelphia Phillies 23, Chicago Cubs 22". Baseball-Reference.com. 1979-05-17.
  16. ^ Sullivan, Paul (1999-05-16). "History Shows Tirades Nothing New Around Wrigley Field". Chicago Tribune.
  17. ^ "1980 Chicago Cubs Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  18. ^ "1980 National League Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com.
  19. ^ "1981 Major League Baseball All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference.com. 1981-08-09.
  20. ^ "First baseman Bill Buckner could be the solution to..." United Press International. 1984-05-25.
  21. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bucknbi01.shtml
  22. ^ Simmons, Bill (2002-10-14). "Buckner Deserves Some Peace". ESPN.
  23. ^ Gibney, Alex (director, narrator). Simmons, Bill (producer/creator). Buckner, Bill (himself, commentator). "Catching Hell", 30 for 30 series of documentaries. ESPN, 2011.
  24. ^ "1986 World Series, Game 6". Baseball-Reference.com. 1986-10-25.
  25. ^ "1986 World Series, Game 7". Baseball-Reference.com. 1986-10-27.
  26. ^ Grossfeld, Stan (2003-10-23). "Error doesn't weigh: He's been a Sox scapegoat for 17 years, but Bill Buckner is at peace in Idaho". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2003-12-14.
  27. ^ https://www.masslive.com/opinion/2019/05/the-lessons-of-bill-buckners-life-editorial.html
  28. ^ "Boston Red Sox 6, New York Yankees 2". Baseball-Reference.com. 1987-07-28.
  29. ^ "Bill Buckner". Retrosheet. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  30. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bucknbi01.shtml
  31. ^ "Boston Red Sox 3, Kansas City Royals 1". Baseball-Reference.com. 1988-07-15.
  32. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bucknbi01.shtml
  33. ^ Houser, Ben (2006-10-06). "Buckner: 'I try to look at it in a positive way'". ESPN.
  34. ^ Cotton Boll Conspiracy (2011-10-27). "Bill Buckner: Much more than a single play".
  35. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bucknbi01.shtml
  36. ^ Benjamin, Amalie (2008-04-08). "An Emotional Day for Bill Buckner". Boston Globe.
  37. ^ "Buckner Tabbed As Rox Skipper". Brockton Rox. January 4, 2011. Archived from the original on January 10, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  38. ^ James, Marty (January 6, 2011). "NHS great Buckner back in baseball". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  39. ^ "Cubs officially name Buckner as Boise hitting coach" Chicago Tribune – 2011-12-30
  40. ^ "Buckner will serve as Boise Hawks' hitting coach" The Idaho Statesman – 2011-12-31
  41. ^ "Boise Hawks hitting coach Bill Buckner retires from baseball" The Idaho Statesman – 2014-03-03
  42. ^ James, Marty (April 9, 2008). "Buckner in Napa High Hall of Fame". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  43. ^ James, Marty (October 31, 2010). "Napa baseball coach accepts honor for his childhood hero". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  44. ^ James, Marty (April 22, 2010). "Napa High alum Buckner to enter Sac-Joaquin Section shrine". Napa Valley Register. Napa, California. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  45. ^ Duarte, Joseph (2006-11-09). "UT sign Bill Buckner's son". Chron.com.
  46. ^ "Bill Buckner dies at 69 after battling dementia". ESPN. 2019-05-27. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  47. ^ Sterling, Joe; Griggs, Brandon (May 27, 2019). "Bill Buckner, All-Star slugger best known for his '86 World Series error, is dead at 69". CNN. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  48. ^ "Red Sox mourn the passing of Bill Buckner". Major League Baseball. 2019-05-27. Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  49. ^ Zipay, Steve (2006-08-16). "The Buckner Ball: After getting by Buckner, it eventually was snared by fan who grew up on LI". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13.
  50. ^ "Buckner ball sells for $418,250". The Wall Street Journal.
  51. ^ "Bill Buckner ball sells for $418,250". ESPN.
  52. ^ "Auction record for Buckner Ball". Heritage Auctions.
  53. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (September 4, 2011). "Mister Softee: Bill Bucker to the rescue?". hitfix.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved September 5, 2011.
  54. ^ "Rounders (screenplay)". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
  55. ^ "Brother's Little Helper". Archived from the original on 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  56. ^ Shea, Brendan (April 30, 2010). "Tonight's Lineup: A Crash Course on Red Sox History". American Repertory Theater. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010.
  57. ^ Greenspan Admits Errors to Hostile House Panel, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2008 (accessed Oct. 24, 2008)
  58. ^ "Mookie & Buckner in "Catching Up"". Retrieved May 29, 2019 – via YouTube.
  59. ^ Hodgman, J: (2006). The Areas of My Expertise, Riverhead, page 96.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Mike Schmidt
National League Player of the Month
August 1982
Succeeded by
Claudell Washington
1968 Major League Baseball draft

The 1968 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft took place prior to the 1968 MLB season. The draft saw the New York Mets take shortstop Tim Foli first overall.

1974 World Series

The 1974 World Series matched the two-time defending champions Oakland Athletics against the Los Angeles Dodgers with the A's winning the Series in five games.

Rollie Fingers figured in three of the four Oakland victories, posting a win and two saves, and was honored as the Series MVP. Oakland became the first team to win three consecutive Series since the New York Yankees won five in a row between 1949 and 1953; the win secured the Athletics' status as one of the truly dominant teams of the 1970s. (The other "team of the decade," the Cincinnati Reds, would check in with consecutive Series victories in 1975 and 1976.)

The 1974 Fall Classic was the first all-California World Series. These two teams would meet again in the fall classic 14 years later in 1988.

1975 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in second place, 20 games behind the Cincinnati Reds in the Western Division of the National League.

1977 Chicago Cubs season

The 1977 Chicago Cubs season was the 106th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 102nd in the National League and the 62nd at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League East with a record of 81–81, 20 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.

1984 Boston Red Sox season

The 1984 Boston Red Sox season was the 84th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League East with a record of 86 wins and 76 losses, 18 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

1985 Boston Red Sox season

The 1985 Boston Red Sox season was the 85th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League East with a record of 81 wins and 81 losses, 18½ games behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

1986 Boston Red Sox season

The 1986 Boston Red Sox season was the 86th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 66 losses. After defeating the California Angels in the ALCS, the Red Sox lost the World Series to the New York Mets in seven games.

1986 World Series

The 1986 World Series was the 83rd edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1986 Major League Baseball season. A best-of-seven playoff, it pitted the National League (NL) champion New York Mets against the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox. The Mets won the Series in the seventh game, after overcoming a deficit of two runs with two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6. This was a game in which the Red Sox were twice one strike away from victory, and known for the famous error by Boston's first baseman Bill Buckner after their lead had already been blown. Game 6 has been cited in the legend of the "Curse of the Bambino" to explain the major comeback. It was also the first World Series to use the designated hitter only in games played at the American League representative's stadium, a policy which has continued since (prior to this, since 1976, the DH would be used in all parks in the World Series for even-numbered years, but in odd-numbered years, the DH rule would not be in effect).

1987 Boston Red Sox season

The 1987 Boston Red Sox season was the 87th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League East with a record of 78 wins and 84 losses, 20 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

1987 California Angels season

The California Angels 1987 season involved the Angels finishing 6th in the American League west with a record of 75 wins and 87 losses.

1988 California Angels season

The California Angels 1988 season involved the Angels finishing 4th in the American League West with a record of 75 wins and 87 losses.

1988 Kansas City Royals season

The 1988 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League West with a record of 84 wins and 77 losses.

1989 Kansas City Royals season

The 1989 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing second in the American League West with a record of 92 wins and 70 losses. The Royals' record was tied for the third best in baseball, but in the pre-wild card era, the team did not qualify for the post-season.

1990 Boston Red Sox season

The 1990 Boston Red Sox season was the 90th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished first in the American League East with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses. It was the second AL East division championship in three years for the Red Sox. However, the team was defeated in a four-game sweep by the Oakland Athletics in the ALCS, as had been the case in 1988.

Assist (baseball)

In baseball, an assist (denoted by A) is a defensive statistic, baseball being one of the few sports in which the defensive team controls the ball. An assist is credited to every defensive player who fields or touches the ball (after it has been hit by the batter) prior to the recording of a putout, even if the contact was unintentional. For example, if a ball strikes a player's leg and bounces off him to another fielder, who tags the baserunner, the first player is credited with an assist. A fielder can receive a maximum of one assist per out recorded. An assist is also credited if a putout would have occurred, had another fielder not committed an error. For example, a shortstop might field a ground ball cleanly, but the first baseman might drop his throw. In this case, an error would be charged to the first baseman, and the shortstop would be credited with an assist.

If a pitcher records a strikeout where the third strike is caught by the catcher, the pitcher is not credited with an assist. However, if the batter becomes a baserunner on a dropped third strike and the pitcher is involved in recording a putout by fielding the ball and either tagging the runner out or throwing to first base for the out, the pitcher is credited with an assist just as any other fielder would be.

Assists are an important statistic for outfielders, as a play often occurs when a baserunner on the opposing team attempts to advance on the basepaths when the ball is hit to the outfield (even on a caught fly ball that results in an out; see tag up). It is the outfielder's job to field the ball and make an accurate throw to another fielder who is covering the base before the runner reaches it. The fielder then attempts to tag the runner out. This is especially important if the runner was trying to reach home plate, as the assist and tag prevent the baserunner from scoring a run. Assists are much rarer for outfielders than infielders (with the exception of first basemen) because the play is harder to make, and also because outfielder assist situations occur less often than the traditional ground-ball assist for a shortstop, second baseman, or third baseman. However, as a result, outfield assists are worth far more than infield assists, and tell more about an outfielder's throwing arm than infielder assists do.

In recent years, some sabermetricians have begun referring to assists by outfielders as baserunner kills. Some sabermetricians are also using baserunner holds as a statistic to measure outfield arms.

A baserunner hold occurs when the baserunner does not attempt to advance an extra base on an outfielder out of concern of being thrown out by a strong, accurate throw. This can be combined with baserunner kills for better accuracy, as runners often do not try for an extra base when an outfielder with an excellent arm is playing.

Dave Stapleton (infielder)

Not to be confused with Dave Stapleton (pitcher).David Leslie Stapleton (born January 16, 1954) is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1980 to 1986. Stapleton attended University of South Alabama.

Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge

The Leonard P. Zakim () Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge (or Zakim Bridge) is a cable-stayed bridge across the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a replacement for the Charlestown High Bridge, an older truss bridge constructed in the 1950s. Of ten lanes, using the harp-style system of nearly-parallel cable layout, coupled with the use of "cradles" through each pylon for the cables, the main portion of the Zakim Bridge carries four lanes each way (northbound and southbound) of the Interstate 93 and U.S. Route 1 concurrency between the Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. Tunnel and the elevated highway to the north. Two additional lanes are cantilevered outside the cables, which carry northbound traffic from the Sumner Tunnel and North End on-ramp. These lanes merge with the main highway north of the bridge. I-93 heads toward New Hampshire as the "Northern Expressway", and US 1 splits from the Interstate and travels northeast toward Massachusetts' North Shore communities, crossing the Mystic River via the Tobin Bridge.

The bridge and connecting tunnel were built as part of the Big Dig, the largest highway construction project in the United States. The northbound lanes were finished in March 2003, and the southbound lanes in December. The bridge's unique styling quickly became an icon for Boston, often featured in the backdrop of national news channels, to establish location, and included on tourist souvenirs. The bridge is commonly referred to as the "Zakim Bridge" or "Bunker Hill Bridge" by residents of nearby Charlestown.

The Leverett Circle Connector Bridge was constructed in conjunction with the Zakim Bridge, allowing some traffic to bypass it.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.

The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

Mets Classics

Mets Classics, also called UltiMET Classics is a program currently airing on SportsNet New York. It features New York Mets games which have been deemed 'classic' because of the actions or plays that took place during the game.

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