Regardless of whether you live in Boston or not, mention Bill Buckner to a baseball fan, and they will immediately think of Game 6 in the 1986 World Series.
The hapless BoSox at that point were still cursed with not winning a World Series since 1918, and fans helplessly watched as a ball rolled directly through Buckner’s legs in what the media blamed as the root of the Sox’ postseason unravel and subsequent loss of the ’86 Series.
Time reflected on it this way:
“In reality, it was merely a fielding error in a game already tied after Boston relievers couldn’t hold a two-run, two-out lead in the 10th inning of what should have been the game that gave the Red Sox a World Series win. But considering the cursed history of the Red Sox – no World Series championship since 1918; Game 7 losses in 1946, ’67 and ’75 — there are many who remember the play as if the World Series trophy itself rolled through first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs.”
In watching tonight’s ring presentation/New England sports celebration fest/old memory healing gala, Sox fans not only showed they have forgiven Buckner, but welcomed him with open arms and love. Of course it is a bit easier since the curse has been broken and their team has scored 2 rings in the 2000’s. But, let’s not rain on the parade.
According to Buckner in a post celebration presser, he is good with the BoSox Nation (Red Sox Fans). The media however is another story. Through tears he said that forgiving the media that had dogged him and so adversely affected his family was tough. He has made it through the darkness of bitterness and into the light of forgiveness. The celebration sealed it.
Let’s hope after last week’s revelation by Moises Alou that Steve Bartman can be released from blame and ridicule. Hopefully the condition is not that the Cubs have to have 2 WS rings, because even though Bartman’s relatively young, he’s not immortal.
Too bad that Angels pitcher Donnie Moore is not around to have a display of affection for his contributions to his team and community in the ’80’s.
Back to Buckner, he had the dubious honor of throwing out the first pitch. I guess you could classify me, as the kids say, a Red Sox hater. But I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat worrying that the guy would throw one short of the plate, or wide left or right.
If he did, would it start all over again?
Luckily he looped one in for a strike, and ended his night in true storybook fashion.