The moment it happened, the first line of his obituary was forever defined:
“Bill Buckner, made fateful error in 1986 World Series…. “
You know the story. One play, a hopper that got past Buckner and helped the Mets overcome the Red Sox, overshadowed a very good baseball career.
A play that never should have happened. Throughout the season, Red Sox manager John McNamara frequently sent in Dave Stapleton to sub for Buckner late in ballgames for defensive purposes. Buckner was a good first baseman in his prime, but was hobbled by ankle injuries later in his career.
That night, Game 6, Buckner allowed Mookie Wilson’s grounder to slip through his legs and the Mets won 6-5 in 11 innings. Two nights later, the Mets won the World Series and extended the Red Sox drought to 68 years.
Bill Buckner died this week at the age of 69 of Lewy body dementia. Although I’m not here to advocate the Hall of Fame candidacy of Buckner, his career and numbers are eerily similar to those of Harold Baines, who was elected to he HOF by the Veteran’s Committee earlier this year. In my book, Baines is not a Hall of Famer.
Buckner and Baines each played 22 seasons and had lifetime batting averages of .289. Billy Bucks is one of the few players in MLB history to play in four different decades.
Baines had 2,866 hits, Buckner 2,715. Baines had a big edge in the power categories (384 HRs to 174) and better slugging and OPS numbers.
But Buckner stole 183 bases as opposed to 34 for Baines. Buckner won a batting title (.324) with the Cubs in 1980.
Oh and get this. Buckner struck out just 445 times in in 9,397 at bats, and Baines 1441 in 9,908 ABs. The year Baines won the NL batting title, he fanned 18 times in 578 ABs.
Neither player ever won World Series. Buckner was on pennant winners with the Dodgers in 1974 and the Red Sox in 1986; Baines with the A’s in 1990.
One other big differential; Buckner played first base and outfield throughout his career, Baines was primarily a designated hitter.
Take away that one error, and is the Veteran’s Committee looking at Buckner?
Listening to all those annoying vuvuzela horns at the World Cup in South Africa reminds me of a swarm of bees. Commentators have described the sound as “annoying” and compared it with “a stampede of noisy elephants,” “a deafening swarm of locusts,”a goat on the way to slaughter” and “a giant hive full of very angry bees.”Ouch, dammit, just got stung!
Not a big soccer buff, but that gaffe by England’s keeper Robert Green that handed the United States a goal and ultimately a 1-1 draw with the favored Brits brought back memories of Bill Buckner.
BTW, why is England called England in the World Cup and the UK everywhere else?
These college conference shifts are making me dizzy. If this merry-go-round somehow turns into a football playoff system, it’s all good. If not, it’s bookkeeping .
Could’ve made some nice coin betting that Francisco Cervelli would have the same amount of RBIs as Joe Mauer (27) going into play on June 12.
Pete Carroll got out of Dodge just in time, leaving those USC penalties in his wake.
Playoffs make for strange heroes. The endearing image of the NBA Finals so far is little Nate Robinson hugging Glen “Big Baby “Davis aka Donkey and Shrek, shown right.
If we were living in an alternative universe and Butler’s Gordon Hayward had made that half-court heave to beat Duke, would it have gone down as the best shot in history? That’s a tough one, but well, the answer is yes. It beats Christian Laettner’s buzzer-beater, as well as any of Michael Jordan’s game winners. Jerry West made a 63-foot shot to send a playoff game into overtime in 1970, but the Knicks went on to beat the Lakers that night. Then there was Gene Sarazan’s double eagle at the 1935 Masters. And Bobby Thomson’s shot heard round the world, that helped the Giants win the pennant in 1951. Would any of those top Hayward? Not in this alternative world.
Speaking of college hoops, why is Jim Calhoun hanging on at UConn.
Is there a better Jack Nicholson than Randle Patrick McMurphy in “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”? How about here’s Johnny, Jack Torrance, in Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Or Melvin Udall in “As Good As It Gets.”
Tom Izzo isn’t taking that Cavaliers job unless he knows LeBron is coming back.
Do you think Patrick Kane would trade his name on the Stanley Cup for an Olympic gold medal? Kinda wondered the same thing about Sidney Crosy, but he’s already got both.
Is Brett Favre retired yet?