Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where Are They Now?: Bill Buckner

There's a little roller up along first, behind the bag! It gets through Buckner! Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!

That clip sends shivers up and down every spine in New England. What's the first thing you think of when I say "Buckner"? It's got to be that costly error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. It perpetuated the Curse of the Bambino, and in doing so became one of the most infamous moments in baseball history.

Most people don't know anything else about Bill Buckner. He wasn't some dopey scrub who had a penchant for letting slow rolling balls get past him. He played 22 years in the major leagues for the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, and Royals. He made an All-Star game, won a batting title in 1981, amassed over 2,700 hits, and had a career fielding percentage of .991. Not too shabby. However, despite all of this, he was never able to overcome that one slow roller down the first base line. It's been almost 24 years, and I thought that it was about time that we find out what ever happened to Mr. Buckner.

After the 1986 World Series, Buckner started the 1987 season at first base for the Red Sox. Due to pressure from the fans, Buckner was mercifully traded to the Angels, where he spent the remainder of the '87 and the '88 seasons. He played the 1989 season with the Royals, coming to Fenway Park for the first time as a visiting player. He recieved a standing ovation, and went 1 for 2 with a walk off of Roger Clemens. The Red Sox signed Buckner as a free agent for the 1990 season, which he retired halfway through.

After his retirement, Buckner moved to Idaho with his wife and three children. His son Bobby is currently attending the University of Texas where he is studying business and playing baseball for the Longhorns. Bill became a real estate investor, more specifically working in housing subdivisions. He named one of these "Fenway Park".

One of Buckner's more recent investments didn't pan out. When his boss asked him "Bill, how could you let that one slip through?" he replied, "Um, hello? I'm Bill Buckner."

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