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Bill Buckner (1949–2019), baseball legend

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Outstanding career unjustly overshadowed by World Series error

Bill Buckner had an outstanding 22 season MLB career that was overshadowed by an infamous error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Buckner was the first baseman for the Red Sox in game 6, who held a 3-2 series lead against the favored New York Mets. The Mets tied the game in the bottom of the tenth when Mookie Wilson came up to bat with two outs. Wilson hit a slow grounder towards Buckner who misjudged the ball which went through his legs, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run. The Mets than won the World Series in game 7, extending at that time the Red Sox long run with no World Series title.

Boston fans were hard on Buckner, some blaming him for the continuation of the Red Sox curse.

Buckner was a great contact hitter who never struck out 3 times in a game, an MLB record. He had a lifetime batting average of almost .300 with over 2,700 hits and 1,208 RBIs. He played for the Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, and Royals.

He handled his error with grace and class, even appearing in an episode of Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” where he comically made up for the error.

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Died: Monday, May 27, 2019. (Who else died on May 27?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 69 from Lewy body dementia.


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He forgave fans for being hard on him: "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." —Buckner after a standing ovation from Boston fans at a 2008 celebration at Fenway

What they said about him:  “I was saddened to hear about Bill’s death. We had developed a friendship that lasted well over 30 years. I felt badly for some of the things he went through. Bill was a great great baseball player whose legacy should not be defined by one play.” —Mookie Wilson

“This is not right. My former major leaguers and teammates are slowly moving off into the sunset. I am really upset about Bill Buckner’s passing. He’s another guy I wished I could have played with, not just against. He was a terrific hitter as well as a human being. Tears.” —Former Mets star Keith Hernandez

“As I clear my head and hold back the tears I know I will always remember Billy Buck as a great hitter and a better friend. He deserved better. Thank god for his family. I ll miss u Buck!” —Former player and manager Bobby Valentine

“16 hitters struck out three times yesterday. Bill Buckner? Not a single three-strikeout game in a 22-year career.” —Tyler Kepner, baseball writer for the New York Times

Full obituary: Boston Globe

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