Michael Rock Remembers Bill Buckner
I was saddened by the news that Bill Buckner passed away yesterday morning.
Regrettably, Bill Buckner's long baseball career will be remembered for one single play. There are Red Sox fans that weren't even alive in 1986 who know the gory details.
I was in the eighth grade at the Pike School in Andover. I had been lucky enough to get dismissed from school to see not only a game against the Angels in the American League Championship Series, but also a game at the World Series. It was a 13-year-old boy's dream come true.
My best friend's grandfather was the owner of the Lowell Sun newspaper, and we were going to ride his press credentials all the way to the World Series. I'll never forget our grandstand seats were right behind Celtic great Bill Walton for the games. The whole experience was surreal for a kid who spent his summers riding his bike to Sheehan's Convenience Store in Tewksbury several times a week to buy baseball cards to put together "complete sets" the old fashioned way—by collecting cards as opposed to buying complete sets at the card shop.
I had watched that whole magical season. Clemens, Boggs, Barrett, Rice, Baylor, Evans, Gedman, Hurst, Henderson. Could this finally be the year that the Red Sox won the World Series?
The game had started on a Saturday night, but it didn't end until Sunday morning when—well, you know what happened. It was the first time I cried at the end of a baseball game. I'd cry again at the end of Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series when Aaron Boone—well, you know.
Buckner attempted to live in the Boston area after the whole Game 6 thing. I'm embarrassed to say that my fellow Red Sox fans made that impossible. Too many loudmouths making life miserable for him and uncomfortable for his family. Buckner would, eventually, live back in suburbs of Boston after things cooled off a bit and he came to terms with what happened on that October night.
Dan Shaughnessy had a terrific article yesterday outlining some of Bill Buckner's career highlights. Instead of embedding the YouTube video of Vin Scully's haunting play by play or the E3, we'll tip our cap to Mr. Buckner with this from Shaughnessy. It's just better that way.
Bill Buckner had more big league hits than either Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. He was an All-Star and won a batting title. Playing on ankles that had to be iced almost round the clock, he knocked in 102 runs for the pennant-winning Red Sox in 1986. -Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe