25 Years Later, Buckner Play Still Lingers
It was 25 years ago to the day that one of the biggest mishaps in all of baseball happened. Bill Buckner and the Boston Red Sox were one out away from winning the 1986 World Series, when a ground ball was hit to Buckner only to have it escape him, roll through his legs, giving the Mets the win in game 6.
It’s a play that is still shown on any baseball montage and could arguably be one of the most famous plays in the history of the game. The play is often shown with such historic moments as Carlton Fisk’s home run in the 1975 World Series or the Kirk Gibson pinch hit home run during the 1988 World Series. Yes, Buckner’s gaff still lingers amongst the sporting world twenty-five years later.
The Mets would go on to win the World Series in seven games, but it’s the Buckner play that everyone will remember. But is it fair to blame it all on Buckner?
The Red Sox still had one game left to win the World Series and finally put an end to the “curse of the Bambino” 68 years later.
Game 7 was pushed back one day due to rain, which gave the Red Sox an edge as Bruce Hurst was able to make the start in the final game and avoid starting Oil Can Boyd, who struggled greatly in game 3.
The Sox took a 3-0 lead on Mets starter Ron Darling in the third inning, a score that would hold up through the first five innings. After that it wasn’t pretty as the Mets got to Hurst for 3 in the sixth and 3 in the seventh to go up 6-3.
Boston would get 2 back in the top of the eighth to pull within one, but the Mets would get two back in the bottom half of the inning for an 8-5 lead. It was a lead they would not relenquish as Marty Barrett struck out in the ninth for the final out. Who was waiting on deck? Bill Buckner.
Wouldn’t it have been sweet justice had Barrett gotten on base and given Buckner the chance to tie the game. But the baseball gods have a cruel sense of humor as all Red Sox fans know all to well.
Poor Bill Buckner. He endured many years of torment and obliteration in Boston for a simple play that cost the Red Sox the game; not the World Series, but the game.
Now, two and a half decades later, baseball fans are still talking about the play.
What if Buckner made the play and the Red Sox won the World Series that night in October. Sure it would’ve been great for the Red Sox and all their fans, finally ending the curse.
But 2004 wouldn’t have been so damn special. I’m not saying that I’m glad Buckner missed the play so that the ’04 title meant so much more. No way. I would love to have another championship banner flying outside Fenway Park rather than just an ALCS championship banner. But it’s plays like Buckners that made the ’04 title extra special. Years of torment and torture were finally put to bed and throw in the fact that Boston came back from an 0-3 hole to the hated Yankees and that title is pretty damn cool. Talk about a twisted sense of humor, the baseball gods work in funny ways.
With the collapse in September the most recent historic events that the Red Sox find themselves a part of, some are blaming this on Buckner. It was Bill Buckner who had a cameo appearance on the hit tv show, Curb Your Enthusiasm on September 4. The Red Sox record since Buckner’s appearance on the show was a dispicable 6-18. Some say this is the latest curse to haunt the Red Sox. Finally after all these years Buckner is released of his heinous and unfortunate error and is just starting to show his face around Boston. Now, some want to paint the latest downfall in Red Sox history on the most popular scapegoat? It’s not fair and I hardly think it was Buckner’s curse that had anything to do with the Red Sox folding like a cheap tent and missing the playoffs.
Twenty-five years is a long time ago. A lot has happened, including the Red Sox winning two titles. So Bill Buckner, while your infamous play will continue to be played for many more decades, just know that all is forgiven, at least from this Red Sox fan.
For all the latest news and analysis from BoSox Injection, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or with our RSS feed.