Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bill Buckner

A few days ago was the 25th Anniversary of the infamous Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox and Mets. Of course that was the game in which Bill Buckner let Mookie Wilson's groundball roll through his legs, scoring the winning run from second base. Ultimately the Red Sox lost the World Series despite being just one strike away in Game 6, a pain the Texas Rangers just learned this week.

Anyway, this is obviously a very famous play in World Series history and has become the major event Buckner is known for, which is a shame. Buckner actually was a decent player, even in his time with the Red Sox. He had his best years with the Dodgers and Cubs, but he was a decent player with the Red Sox.

Buckner played two stints for the Red Sox, first from 1984 through the first half of 1987, and then returning for 22 games in early 1990. Buckner was acquired from the Cubs in a deal for Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley. Eckersley actually did not develop his Hall of Fame career until later and Brumley never did much in the Major Leagues at all.

Buckner's first year in Boston was not terribly good as he hit only .278/.321/.410 with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs. But his 1985 was his best season with the Red Sox as he batted .299/.324/.447 with 16 home runs and 110 RBIs. He lead the team in stolen bases with 18, a far cry from his much more plodding play in 1986 due to his surgically repaired ankles. 1986 was another good year as he hit .267/.311/.421 but contributed 18 home runs and 102 RBIs. In 1987, his numbers dropped a great amount, possibly due to the pressure from the fans, but he was also 36 years old.

Buckner returned in 1990 and hit an inside the park home run, but that was about it for highlights. His career was over later in the year.

But the one thing most people remember about Bill Buckner with the Red Sox is that one error. It is a shame.

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