Bill Buckner: Baseball Great Who Was Shunned Upon

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Bill Buckner: Baseball Great Who Was Shunned Upon

Cole Weintraub, Staff Writer

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Bill Buckner was a great person on and off of the field.  He was someone who always loved the game and he always gave it his all.  This past Monday, Bill Buckner was pronounced dead in Boise, Idaho. He suffered Lewy Body Dimensia. This can cause a great decline in mental abilities and hallucinations. Buckner was only 69 years old.

Bill Buckner’s career seemed to be defined by one play. It was October 25th, 1986 at Shea Stadium. It was Game 6 of the World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. Boston was up in the series 3-2. The game went back and forth. The game was tied at 3 after 9 innings and the Sox put up 2 runs in the top of the 10th. This was huge for Boston because if they closed it out in the tenth inning, they would be World Series Champions.

Calvin Schiraldi was in his third inning of work on the hill. The first two outs were recorded very quickly on flyouts from Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez. Back to back singles from Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell set up the Mets with two outs. Ray Knight came up with a clutch single, knocking in Carter from second, cutting the lead in half.  Schiraldi was taken out for one of Boston’s main relievers, Bob Stanley. Mookie Wilson stepped to the plate. Stanley threw a wild pitch which scored Kevin Mitchell from third. This tied the game.  On a 3-2 count, Wilson hit a dribbler up the first base line. It looked routine over there for Buckner as he took a few steps to his left. He reached to field the dribbler in front of him, but the ball went right through his legs.  Ray Knight scored and that was that. The Mets forced a Game 7.

That play looked so easy.  Buckner could have made that play with his eyes closed, but in the biggest moment on the biggest stage, he did not make the routine play.  In order to erase this play from history, Boston needed to win the deciding Game 7.

Boston held a 3-0 lead until the 6th inning when New York scored three and never turned back.  The Mets won their second World Series 8-5 in a crazy series. The entire focus was now on Bill Buckner.  If Buckner had made that play, Boston would have won the World Series. They were still under the “Curse of the Babe”.  All of the media was all over Bill Buckner. For him, it was an awful time. That one moment would stick with him for his entire life.

Most uneducated baseball fans think that the Mets won the series after that play.  That is the extra blame that Buckner carried. If the Boston pitching was sufficient in the late innings of Game 7, they would have won.  Bill even went 2-4 in the last game coming off of a nightmare two nights before. Buckner was the reason why Boston was in it. In that September, he hit .340 with 8 home runs and 22 runs batted in.

The fact that Buckner’s career is “defined” by that one play is ridiculous.  Bill Buckner was a great ball player. He had a career .289 batting average and compiled 2715 hits over a 22-year career.  That is a very solid career. Not only was he one of the best pure hitters of the generation, but he was able to carry himself very well after the ‘86 series.  He was constantly apart of the jokes and the cruelty, but he always stayed strong.

Bill Buckner will be missed forever in the game of baseball.  He was a man who tried his very hardest day in and day out. One play should not define his career because he was a great ballplayer.

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