Major League Baseball lost a great player on Monday in former Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner.
Buckner, 69, passed away from dementia in Idaho. He enjoyed a highly productive 22-year big league career in which he amassed 2715 hits and played in the World Series twice. And let's set the record straight: he got way more hate than he deserved for his error in the 1986 World Series.
Buckner might be known for the ball which rolled right between his legs in Game 6 which allowed the go-ahead run to score, but that didn't cost the team the World Series.
Allow us to explain.
You see, that tied the series up 3-3 and the team had a chance to win in Game 7. They didn't; their bullpen let up five runs and they lost 8-5.
But even looking at the game Buckner made the error in, there are a lot of things to consider. Had he made the play, the game remains tied 5-5 and it would've gone into the 11th inning. Who knows if they would've won it?
And why was a 36-year-old Buckner out playing first base in extra innings with the lead? In the first five games of the series, Dave Stapleton had come in as a defensive replacement thrice for Buckner. One also has to question why DH Don Baylor, who crushed 31 home runs during the regular season, wasn't playing first base at a National League ballpark to get his bat into the lineup.
Plus, the bullpen really blew Game 6. Calvin Schiraldi surrendered three straight singles with two outs in the inning and Bob Stanley allowed the game-tying run to score on a wild pitch (and Ray Knight to advance to second base).
So yeah, it's tough to blame Buckner...
He had a great career and his passing is a sad one.