Baseball fans everywhere, especially those of the Boston Red Sox, will remember Bill Buckner as the man who missed a crucial game-winning ground ball to end the 1986 World Series between the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox, however, he is now being honored as a baseball legend after his death.
Buckner passed away this past Memorial Day, at the age of 69. Bill suffered from a disease known as ‘Lewy Body Dementia‘, which causes the brain and bodily functions to deteriorate over time, with the average lifespan after diagnosis being just 8 years.
Buckner had an illustrious 22-year career in Major League Baseball, spanning from 1969 to 1990. He was drafted to the Los Angeles and later played for the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, California Angels, and of course, the Boston Red Sox.
He had a lifetime batting average of .289, crediting himself with a batting title in 1980 to go along with an All-Star Game appearance the following year. But it was one play that would define his career for the rest of his life.
In 1986, the Sox were a pitch away from winning their first World Series since 1918, and All-Star Mookie Betts of the New York Mets came up to bat with his team tied, and runners in scoring position. He hit a routine ground ball to Buckner at first… and he missed it. This allowed New York to win Game 6 on a run scored on the error, and the Red Sox would go on to lose the World Series in Game 7, making Buckner the most hated man in Boston.
“Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” his family said in a statement to ESPN.
He was commemorated at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox prior to their game against the Cleveland Indians yesterday.