Bill Buckner Dies at Age 69

Bill Buckner
BOSTON - APRIL 08: Former Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the MLB baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers on April 8, 2008 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)

Bill Buckner, a 22-year veteran of MLB, has died at the age of 69 due to lewy body dementia. Buckner played first base and the outfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals.

He is one of only five players to appear in a game in the 1960s and the 1990s, joining Carlton Fisk, Rick Dempsey, Nolan Ryan, and Jerry Reuss. He debuted in 1969 and retired after 1990.

Buckner’s Legacy

The tragedy of Buckner is that he endured a wrath of unnecessary hatred and criticism after his error that allowed the winning run to score against the New York Mets of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Although it was not his error that cost the Red Sox the game, it served as the scapegoat for the loss.

Unfortunately, this gaffe came to define Buckner’s career, which ultimately diminished the player that he was for 22 seasons.

Buckner was a great pure hitter during his time. His .289/.321/.408 career slash line does not jump out, but he amassed 2,715 hits, 1,208 RBI, and 498 doubles. He twice led the league in doubles and won the 1980 batting title as a Cub.

What flies under the radar is Buckner’s ability to make contact. He was as tough a player to strikeout as any. In a time where strike outs are skyrocketing, it feels like a sense of false reality to see that Buckner never struck out 40 times in one season.

Additionally, he never struck out three times in one game. In fact, he struck out just 453 times in 10,037 career plate appearances, or four-and-a-half percent of the time.

Post-Playing Career

After his retirement, Buckner moved his family out to Idaho, a far cry from the likes of Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago where he spent the bulk of his career. He also picked up a bevy of coaching jobs throughout the MLB, MiLB, and independent league ranks.

Bill Buckner had a tremendous career, and he will be remembered as a great hitter and a strong human being who endured more than he deserved to following the 1986 World Series.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images

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