Bill Buckner, long time MLB first baseman who played with the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs, among other teams, has died, it has been announced. He was 69, and suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.
Buckner spent 22 years in the majors, being one of the rare players to play in four decades, as his career spanned from 1969 to 1990. He was a product of the contact-oriented game at the time, a guy who was a steady .300 hitter who didn’t hit for much power, walk or strike out. He averaged just 29 walks and 29 Ks per 162 games played, and finished his career with 2715 hits, good for 66th all time.
Buckner is, unfortunately, best known for his error in the bottom of the 10th in Game Six of the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox, trying to break their decades-long championship drought, scored two runs in the top of the 10th to make it a 5-3 game. Calvin Schiraldi retired the first two batters of the inning, then gave up singles to Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell and Ray Knight, making it 5-4. Bob Stanley came into the game and threw a wild pitch that tied the game. Mookie Wilson then hit a routine grounder to first base which went through Buckner’s legs, allowing the winning run to score, and setting the stage for the Mets to win it all in Game Seven.
Our thoughts go out to the Buckner family.