Blog Entry

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

Posted on: May 19, 2011 9:01 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Bill BucknerWGN in Chicago needed a one-game fill-in for analyst Bob Brenly for Friday night's game at Fenway Park, and of all the former Cubs, who did they select?

Bill Buckner.

Buckner, who finished his career with 2,715 hits over parts of 22 seasons from 1969 to 1990, playing for the Dodgers, Cubs, Royals, Angels and, of course, the Red Sox.

Despite winning a batting title in 1980 and making the All-Star team in 1981 (both in Chicago), Buckner is remembered for his fielding error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, a play that allowed the Mets to score the winning run and deny Boston a championship.

For those new-comers to the game, there was a time not all that long ago that Red Sox fans were the most miserable people on Earth, wallowing in the team's inability to win the big one. That time has now passed, as most of the frat boys you see at your local watering hole wearing Red Sox caps weren't part of "the Nation" when Mookie Wilson's grounder went between Buckner's legs. Of course, much like Carlton Fisk's homer didn't win the '75 Series for the Sox, Buckner wouldn't have given the Sox a title if he'd fielded the ball, the game was already tied.

Anyway, for years Buckner was a pariah in New England, his name cursed as much as Bucky F'n Dent's. All has been forgiven in recent years after the drought was broken, but for many years, Buckner was unfairly persecuted. 

But, hey, Buckner says he's dealt with it and he's fine now.

"You just deal with crap that comes up, and that's what life is," Buckner told the Chicago Tribune. "Life's tough, and you handle it. I'd do it all over again to get the opportunity to play sports and make a good amount of money. I was very fortunate. In real life, in real situations, what I had to go through is nothing."

Buckner, it should be noted, will be in his first year of managing for the Brockton (Mass.) Rox of the Can-AM Indepenedent League, which started its spring training this week, so it's not just words. Good for him, and it's a great outlook on life that we should all take to heart.

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Category: MLB

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 11:17 am

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

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Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 1:11 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

Because Bud Selig truly is a MORON

Since: May 15, 2011
Posted on: May 21, 2011 8:37 am

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

That 10th inning of thesixth game should be more memorable for the terrible managing than anything else.  Didn't Buckner get hit by a pitch in the 10th (prime pinch runner opportunity) and didn't Schiraldi bat in the 10th as well?  With the Steamer or even Steve Crawford throwing and Dave Stapleton at first McNamara avoids pulling a Grady Little 17 years before Grady himself.

Since: Jun 14, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 7:12 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

All right, but Buckner has been forgiven several times and embraced by Boston fans several times, the first time being on Opening Day, 1991 (one of the most emotional yet forgotten moments in Red Sox history).  And then again in 2004 after they won the WS, and then again in 2009.  This isn't that shocking anymore, and most serious Red Sox fans have even come to the conclusion that Buckner was not primarily to blame for the 10th inning in 1986.  And they also recognize that he had 2700 hits and should be revered as a great baseball player.  The ugliness is long over.

By the way, why did it take 17 years of Interleague play before the Cubs got to Fenway?  At absolute maximum, every team should mathematically visit every opposite league city within 12 years.  The Giants and Blue Jays have played each other 5 times already.

Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:21 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

So the winning run is at second base with two outs, 3 and 2 to Mookie Wilson.,,,,..little roller up along first......BEHIND THE gets through comes Knight and the Mets WIN IT!!!!

Since: Aug 11, 2008
Posted on: May 20, 2011 4:16 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

All true.  One more important note, if, like you said, Knight was on first, then Buckner is holding the bag and not way back near the grass.  He probablly does not even make the error because there is no rush to beat the speedy Wilson to the bag and the top spin bounces never get to happen.  He would probably make the play on what would be a routine grounder at that point right next to first base.

Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: May 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

You have to remember there were two outs when this all started, so bringing out Schiraldi for his third inning of work, was a non issue, as far as Bob Stanley is concerned, if Rich Gedman moved his fat ass, he could have kept the ball in front of him, so to me it was a passed ball! why is this important, its because this allowed the tying run to score, but more importantly it put Ray Knight at second base and then Buckner's Error. if Gedman blocks the ball Knight does not score on the error.

Since: Dec 13, 2007
Posted on: May 20, 2011 10:16 am

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

Could not have said it better! Thank you! I tell the same story to people and I watch them look at me as if I saw a different game, and I tell each one, "watch the last 10 minutes, not just the last 10 seconds, and I promise youll feel differently about Buckner." 

Since: May 20, 2011
Posted on: May 20, 2011 8:31 am

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

I think that McNamara and Calvin Schiraldi get the blame much more than Stanley. Schiraldi had a 13.50 ERA for the WS and took the losses in Games 6 & 7. He had a two run lead in the ninth and allowed three straight singles and a run. While Stanley uncorked the wild pitch that tied the game, his only batter faced hit an easy ground ball and we know the rest. The final Stanley stats for the WS were 5 games, 6.1 innings pitched, 5 hits, no walks and a 0.00 ERA. Stanley was not great down the stretch or in the playoffs but seemed to find a groove in the WS. While the WP was on Stanley, I think he's an over-villified character for his role in the Sox loss to the Mets. Had McNamara not brough Schiraldi out for his third inning of relief (almost unheard of for a closer in modern baseball) and started the 10th with Stanley, I always felt that the outcome would have been much different. 

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2011 10:37 pm

Buckner returns to Fenway on Friday

I'm looking forward to this historic series this upcoming weekend and I'm looking forward to Buckner being in Fenway Park. 

Buckner is finally getting the respect he deserves from Red Sox fans - he was a scapegoat from 1986 to 2004 when the real culprits were as follows:  John McNamera for playing Buckner when he was injured and Bob Stanley for getting shelled in the inning that saw Buckner make the error.  The final culprit was the Yawkee Family Trust (owners at the time) who despite being revered as a bunch of really great people fielded a team that was just competitive enough to put butts in the seats but was never "complete".  In the entire time the Yawkee family owned the Red Sox they never fielded a complete team that was solid at each position - the closest they ever came to fielding a complete team was 1967 and again in 1986.  

I cannot wait until the Cubs win the big one so that their fans can see an end to the suffering that us Sox fans had for all of those years.  I was born in the 70's and all I knew was losing until the 2000's ushered in new ownership of every sports team except the Bruins (FYI - Jeremy Jacobs sucks!).  With the new ownership of the Cubs hopefully they can renovate Wrigley in ways that bring in more revenue so that they can spend more on the roster and they can win the NLCS and eventually play again in a World Series.  I look forward to seeing the Cubs fans this weekend at Fenway.  What a historic series!

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