Bill Buckner, Red Sox All-Star Famous For Mistake In 1986 World Series, Dies Of Lewy Body Dementia At 69
MLB All-Star and California native Bill Buckner passed away Monday at the age of 69, according to the MLB and his wife, Jody Buckner.
The outfielder and eventual All-Star first baseman played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, the California Angels and his most well-known tenure, the Boston Red Sox. Over his career, Buckner generated 2,715 hits, 174 home runs, scored over 1200 runs and retired with a .289 batting average.
To this day, Buckner was 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. Unfortunately, many pointed the blame at Buckner for the Red Sox having lost that World Series, continuing the Boston “curse.” Backlash ensued and Buckner was in the spotlight for longer than he wanted to be. The Red Sox released Buckner in the summer of the following year.
That night haunted Buckner for decades, as he told The New York Times in a 2011 interview, “You can never really forget it because it comes up all the time. I’m a competitive guy, so it’s something I didn’t enjoy. But for some reason, the stars were all lined up just right for the Mets that year, and here we are, 25 years later, still talking about it.”
After he left the Red Sox, Buckner played for the Royals and the Angels before returning to Boston in 1990. Buckner received a standing ovation in his return to Fenway Park. Buckner retired the following season and moved to Idaho to live in seclusion, and helped the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox as a hitting coach.
The Red Sox “curse” of the 80s and 90s ended at the turn of the century when they won a title in 2004 and again in 2007. Then, in April 2008, Buckner was honored to throw the opening pitch of the new season and received another standing ovation from the crowd.