Fans and Friends Share Their Thoughts On Bill Buckner

Ruben Hill
May 30, 2019

'Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life.

To further underscore his hitting prowess, consider this - in his 22-year career, he never struck out three times in a game and only struck out 4.5 percent of his plate appearances.

Trying for their first crown since 1918, the Boston Red Sox led the New York Mets 5-3 going into the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 6 at Shea Stadium.

Or when my classmates during morning recesses would wait outside Buckner's house and he would patiently sign baseballs or those spongy white-painted rubber baseballs that we bought for $1 at Esther's corner store before heading off to play at Wrigley Field for those countless day games (we attempted to play hooky to attend some games, despite a high risk of being caught by school detention officers).

A footnote: While Buckner was long criticized for the error, many in baseball contend that even if the ball had been handled cleanly, the speedy Wilson would have beaten it anyway.

'We had developed a friendship that lasted well over 30 years, ' Wilson said in a statement on Monday. 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", Wilson said.

To this day, Buckner is remembered for his tragic mistake during the 1986 World Series, when he let a ball slip in between his legs that let Ray Knight of the New York Mets score the winning run. 'Bill Buckner took the glare off the other Red Sox by standing at his locker and thoughtfully answering every question.

Buckner made his major league debut as a teenager, played until he was 40 and amassed 2,715 hits in between.

Although the fans were notoriously brutal to Buckner, who moved his family to Idaho after retirement, the Red Sox players were supportive of their teammate.

'No one played harder than Bill. Chicago Cubs Bill Buckner flies over first, stumbling on the base as he was forced out by St. Louis Cardinals George hendrick on a grounder during first inning in Chicago, Friday, Sept. 9, 1983.

The Boston media was not as forgiving. Probably a baseball rolling under his glove and through his legs.

He was traded again to the Boston Red Sox in 1984, leading two years later to the moment that, unfortunately for Buckner, would come to define his career.

'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, ' Buckner said when he returned to Fenway.

I'm not sure I could tell you why, exactly. 'You have to be up here to understand how people take things that happen.

Still, I thought he played with as much hustle as baseball's all-time hits leader Pete Rose.

After Boston, Buckner played briefly with the Angels and the Kansas City Royals.

He became a batting champ with the Cubs in 1980. He deserved better than to be a punchline for an error. He deserved better, ' Valentine tweeted.

For the record, I Ioved Miss Esther and her sister, Daisy, but I think they jacked up the price of the rubber balls after discovering Buckner was their neighbor. Cubs Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins praised Buckner for helping his charity foundation. Condolences to his family'.

Former Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson, who hit the infamous ground ball to Buckner almost 33 years ago, said in a statement Monday that Buckner's career is far better than just a bad play. On behalf of the Cubs organization, I extend our sympathies to Bill's family and his many friends'. I know from my mother who also suffered from dementia, that he is in a better place'.

Buckner is survived by his wife, Jody, and three children, Brittany, Christen and Bobby.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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