Infamous All-Star Buckner dies at age 69
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 5/28/19, 11:38 am
Bill Buckner, an All-Star first baseman remembered for a disastrous error in the 1986 World Series, died Monday after a long battle with Lewy body dementia. He was 69. Buckner’s career spanned more than 20 years. He was the 1980 National League batting champion while playing for the Chicago Cubs and played for the Boston Red Sox from 1984 to 1987.
In the 1986 World Series, the Red Sox were up two runs in the bottom of the 10th of Game 6 against the New York Mets—just one out away from their first title since 1918. But after the Mets scored twice, Mookie Wilson hit a slow grounder toward Buckner, who missed the ball as it rolled between his legs, bringing home the winning run from second. The Mets won the decisive Game 7, and Red Sox fans didn’t let Buckner off the hook for decades. His blunder came to symbolize the “Curse of the Bambino,” a superstition that selling Babe Ruth’s contract to the New York Yankees in 1919 doomed the Red Sox never to win another championship. (The “curse,” of course, ended when the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004.)
“I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through,” Buckner said in 2008. “So I’ve done that. I’m over that. And I’m just happy that I just try to think of the positive. The happy things.”
His wife, Jodi, two daughters, and one son survive him.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.