Can I be honest with you, my readers?
Another thing I don’t like doing anymore is obituary posts – they tend to be downers. But my blogging policy tends to be that there are exceptions to every rule, and I think this is one of those times where an exception applies.
William Joseph Buckner passed away yesterday, known to baseball fans as simply Bill Buckner. Instead of looking at his career accolades of which he amassed 2,715 hits – he is sadly remembered for an error he made during the sixth game of the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to score the winning run that night after Boston’s Red Sox had a 5-3 lead going into that fateful tenth inning. Had Boston gotten that final out that wound up eluding them – they would have won their fourth game that series, which more importantly would have given them the World Series championship.
I was a Mets fan when that chain of events happened, and when the Mets scored that run to win – the 15 year-old version of me went crazy, even though there was a seventh game of the series yet to be played. But the first team I followed religiously was the 1979 Chicago Cubs, thanks to that absurdly crazy 23-22 game on May 17th of that year against the Philadelphia Phillies. On that team was a first baseman named – you guessed it – Bill Buckner.
Buckner is the main reason why I don’t like to use the word “choke” when it comes to sports. I never thought it was entirely fair to blame him for the Red Sox not winning the 1986 World Series and for Boston fans to turn on him as they did. When you get two teams of high skill together, games seem to get determined more often than not on sheer luck – and luck was with the Mets that night to the fault of no one else.
Rest in peace, Bill. Whatever suffering there has been with time is now at its end.