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Monday, May 27, 2019

Former Red Sox, Cubs Great All-Star Bill Buckner Dies at 69

Buckner, who played first base and outfield, played 22 seasons in the major leagues. He appeared with the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and Royals.

In 1980, Buckner won the NL batting title, and in 1981, he earned his lone All-Star appearance while a member of the Cubs.

I didn’t realize he’d been in such ill health. RIP Billy Buck.

SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2019 at 02:56 PM | 88 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, cubs, dodgers, red sox, royals

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   1. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:03 PM (#5845941)
Sad news about a longtime big leaguer.

   2. Sunday silence Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5845944)
appears to have had Lewys Dementia; wow so young. RIP Bucks.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5845945)
Sorry for the glut of identical entries. The system kept telling me it wasn't working, and I can't figure out how to delete the rest.

   4. depletion Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5845949)
Condolences to the Buckner family and Bill's friends and fans. Great put-the-ball-in play hitter with >10000 plate appearances and 453 K's, 2715 hits. I'm a Mets fan, so I would like to remind the field here that the Red Sox had the lead in game 7.
   5. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5845953)
Sad news.
Noticed he neither fanned or walked more than 40x's in a single season.
That 86 postseason had so many turns to it, I like to think he will be remembered for more than a little roller up along first.
   6. Bote Man Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5845955)
keith Hernandez @keithhernandez
I am so saddened to hear of Bill Buckner’s death at who had been suffering from dementia. 69 years is too young. I know from my mother who also suffered from dementia, that he is in a better place. Bill and I battled to the last day of the 1980 season for the batting title.
   7. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 27, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5845958)
Bill and I battled to the last day of the 1980 season for the batting title.
Reminding me of something Bill James wrote: "After describing Bill Buckner as a batting champion along the lines of Ferris Fain, half my mail accused me of maligning Buckner and the other half accused me of maligning Fain."
   8. GGC Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5845963)
RIP.

It looks to me like Schaap was the one who this story after receiving a call from Buckner's wife. I had no idea he was tight with Jeremy Schaap.

   9. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5845964)
I see Fain won two batting titles.
   10. Red Voodooin Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5845969)
I had no idea he was tight with Jeremy Schaap.


Schaap came out to Idaho to interview Buck and the family a few years back for this E:60 piece.
   11. phredbird Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5845970)

i was watching game 6 on TV, and it was the most jaw dropping baseball play i ever saw live.

(i missed game 6 of the 2011 WS -- long story -- which would have meant way more to me for personal reasons)

felt bad for ol' bill after that, it quickly became obvious he'd have trouble living that down for rest of his life, nobody remembered that he was a productive player for 22 seasons.
   12. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5845974)
I watched game 6 at a tavern with my Dad and brothers in the middle of the woods surrounded by duckhunters, spinning on a barstool. I was 10. It was very memorable.
   13. akrasian Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:46 PM (#5845986)
I'd forgotten he was the main part of the trade when the Dodgers decided they had to get Rick Monday after the flag burning save.

Buckner was a nice player, not a great one, but consistent year after year.
   14. Sweatpants Posted: May 27, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5845989)
I like to think he will be remembered for more than a little roller up along first.
He's in two of the most famous baseball clips of all time: the little roller, and Henry Aaron's 715th homer, which he vainly leaps for as it flies over the left field wall.

He won the batting title. He's in the small club of players to play in four decades. He played in two World Series. He drove in 7 of the Cubs' 22 runs in the famous loss at Wrigley.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:18 PM (#5845991)
I was watching game 6 on TV, and it was the most jaw dropping baseball play i ever saw live.

I heard the Buckner error on the radio. Gibson's homer off Eck was my jaw dropping moment. And as I've repeated ad infinitum, I turned off the 1984 BC/Miami game 10 seconds before the Flutie Hail Mary.
   16. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:20 PM (#5845992)
Sorry for the glut of identical entries. The system kept telling me it wasn't working, and I can't figure out how to delete the rest.

I think you were just trying to pay respect to him, in the most suitable way possible: with one giant #### up.

I kid because I love. RIP.
   17. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:22 PM (#5845993)
A big reason the Sox were able to run away in the AL East in 1986 was Buckner’s big September. He got hot and the Sox broke open a relatively close divisional race.
   18. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:27 PM (#5845996)
appears to have had Lewys Dementia; wow so young. RIP Bucks.


Took my dad at 70. Horrible, horrible disease.
   19. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:29 PM (#5845997)
And as I've repeated ad infinitum, I turned off the 1984 BC/Miami game 10 seconds before the Flutie Hail Mary.


I turned off the Illinois-Arizona Elite 8 game in 2005 with about 2 minutes to go.
   20. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:32 PM (#5845998)
A big reason the Sox were able to run away in the AL East in 1986 was Buckner’s big September. He got hot and the Sox broke open a relatively close divisional race.
Story checks out. In Sept+Oct, Buckner had 26 starts (118 PAs): 315/364/574/938 with 8 HR, 22 RBI, and 20 runs scored. Meanwhile, Boston entered September with a 3.5-game lead over Toronto, but in less than two weeks expanded that margin to 10 games.
   21. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:34 PM (#5845999)
Took my dad at 70. Horrible, horrible disease.
I live in a state w/doctor-assisted suicide and dementia is a diagnosis that could have me looking for the exit.
   22. AndrewJ Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5846002)
Robin Williams was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (after several misdiagnoses) before his death.
   23. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 27, 2019 at 05:58 PM (#5846004)

RIP Bill. While he had a hard time escaping the shadow of that one play, I think he eventually embraced his role in baseball history, did autograph signings with Mookie, etc. I have a photo of the play signed by both players that my brother gave me for my birthday a few years ago.
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 27, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5846005)
And as I've repeated ad infinitum, I turned off the 1984 BC/Miami game 10 seconds before the Flutie Hail Mary.

We had a flight to catch and turned off the 2013 Iron Bowl to drive to the airport (with my father-in-law who is an Auburn alum) just before the field goal attempt, figuring we'd get there in time to watch the OT before our flight. At least we heard the Pick Six on the radio and watched replays ad nauseum in the airport.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2019 at 06:04 PM (#5846007)
FIP to Billy Buck.
   26. puck Posted: May 27, 2019 at 06:27 PM (#5846009)
453 K's and 450 walks in 10,037 lifetime PA's (~4.5%). By today's standards, that seems unbelievable.
   27. puck Posted: May 27, 2019 at 06:38 PM (#5846012)
I had no idea about Lewy body dementia. Robin Williams's' wife wrote an article about how it affected him, and it sounds harrowing.
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 27, 2019 at 07:43 PM (#5846018)
It's a shame that Buckner is identified with the Red Sox. He played more and better for both the Cubs and the Dodgers.
   29. Rally Posted: May 27, 2019 at 07:45 PM (#5846019)
I'm a Mets fan, so I would like to remind the field here that the Red Sox had the lead in game 7.


Also that they had blown a 2 run lead before the ball was hit to Buckner. Best case for them was to continue an extra inning game on the road.

RIP Buck
   30. Walt Davis Posted: May 27, 2019 at 07:49 PM (#5846020)
Grr ... RIP to Billy Buck of course.

He was apparently a gritty grinder. He tore his ankle up early in his career and the stories at the time were always that he had to spend an hour or so before every game getting taped up and and hour or two after every game in the whirlpool. He seems to have played through a lot of pain for the last 15 years of his career.

He has a nice SABR bio
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: May 27, 2019 at 07:51 PM (#5846021)
Also that they had blown a 2 run lead before the ball was hit to Buckner. Best case for them was to continue an extra inning game on the road.


As a Sox fan, Buckner was pretty far down on my list of Game 6 culprits (Schiraldi, Johnny Mac and the Stanley/Gedman team all came in before him). I'm not sure they get him at first even if Buck fielded it cleanly.
   32. Red Voodooin Posted: May 27, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5846024)
I'm not sure they get him at first even if Buck fielded it cleanly.


Maybe not, but the winning run wouldn't have scored from second if he had.
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: May 27, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5846028)
have told this once or twice, but appropriate today.

I meet this gal in July 1986 and we hit it off in a big way.

took her out to dinner every Saturday night. picked out Houlihan's for night of Game 6 (don't judge me - it made sense!), and she was fascinated by how many people were watching the Mets game. while she had told me initially that she liked baseball (and sports, because she knew I did), she didn't know Jack - or Bill - or Mookie.

but I do the boyfriend thing in the first half of the game. once dinner's over, she wants to be part of the growing crowd watching. oh, ok, I say.

we get to the fateful inning, and I tell her that the Mets are in deep trouble - but if the first batter gets on base, they have a chance. no dice. the second batter, I say, has to get on base. he doesn't. one out away. she asks why these Mets fans still seem optimistic. I tell her 'fan is short for fanatic.'

then.... it all happens. she's confused and celebrating all at once. I tell her they'll be talking about this game 25 years later. heck, 125 years later. and you saw it.

Game 7, Sunday night. college buddy of mine grew up across the street from legendary NYC sportswriter Dick Young (the one who hounded Tom Seaver out of town a decade earlier). so he's got seats, but his sister - who also didn't know Jack, or Bill, or Mookie - had insisted on attending Game 6 and planned to do Game 7 as well.

but it's a rainout. she asks, "What do they do now?" he tells her they'll play Monday night instead. no good, she says - she has piano lessons to give.

oh well, he says - and he calls me and asks if I would like to go to Game 7.

loge section, behind home plate. good seats.

I boo Keith Hernandez during the warmups and call him a "druggie." I explained to nearby Mets fans that was the word of choice that Dick Young called Keith, and since they were his seats, I owed him that much. I also stood and applauded poor Buckner, which those fans figured out a little more quickly.

every single person at Shea that night - including all 25 active Red Sox and in-Red-Sox dugout-in-uniform-but-injured Mets icon Tom Seaver - knew how this would play out in the end. but like a formulaic police drama episode, you watch anyway to see what path gets you to the inevitable.

this one happened to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead mid-game. huh, that's interesting, the unconcerned crowd muttered to themselves. then in comes poor Calvin Schiraldi. this had been the year of "DAR-RYL, DAR-RYL," chants at Fenway.

Shea denizens arise at one at start chanting "CAL-VIN! CAL-VIN!" I've likened the noise level to a dome crowd, like the Seahawks in a playoff game in Seattle. I couldn't even focus on watching - how the hell was he supposed to be able to put the ball over the plate?

We stuck around long after the final out - long enough to see closer Jesse Orosco (who was acquired in a trade to Minnesota of Jerry Koosman, who got the last out in the Mets' only other World Series win) and pals run back out to the mound and celebrate.

The atmosphere in the Shea parking lot afterwards was like nothing I'd ever seen. Kind of post-apocalyptic, yer peaceful.

I was just in Boston last week, and of course the Bruins are going for yet another Beantown championship. I chatted with a cabbie and mentioned that I actually felt sorry for Red Sox fans that night - and all the way through 2003.

But I guess if you live long enough, the first ones now really shall later be last - just like the song says.

   34. Rob_Wood Posted: May 27, 2019 at 08:19 PM (#5846029)
To echo what was posted above, Buckner was the antithesis of today's hitter. He didn't walk much, strike out much, or hit many home runs. He didn't take a big stride into his swing and hit mostly flat-footed. He had a short swing and was a master of putting the ball in play. Buckner's value was wrapped up in his batting average since he didn't contribute much else.

Especially late in his career, he tossed the ball to the pitcher on virtually every groundball he fielded at first base since he could not move very well by then.
   35. formerly dp Posted: May 27, 2019 at 09:18 PM (#5846036)
Buck redeems himself. The whole ep is worth watching...what a wonderful human being.
   36. formerly dp Posted: May 27, 2019 at 09:18 PM (#5846037)
Because he saved a baby. Duh.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 27, 2019 at 10:15 PM (#5846041)
Nice story, Howie.
   38. TomH Posted: May 28, 2019 at 07:27 AM (#5846066)
Two notes re: Game 6--
1) My brother picked up the phone to call and congratulate me with 2 outs in the last inning. He saw one hit, then another, and put the phone back down.
2) Ray Knight could have been the goat if the ball had only trickled a foot or two from Buckner. Knight was Jogging Slowly to third, if you watch the replays. If he had tried for home and then been thrown out (and the Sox eventually win), THAT hyptothetical replay would have been seen a lot!
   39. bachslunch Posted: May 28, 2019 at 08:28 AM (#5846070)
As a Sox fan, Buckner was pretty far down on my list of Game 6 culprits (Schiraldi, Johnny Mac and the Stanley/Gedman team all came in before him). I'm not sure they get him at first even if Buck fielded it cleanly.

Buckner had routinely been lifted in late innings for defensive purposes during that postseason because his feet were so injured he could barely run; if this hadn't been the postseason, Buckner might well have been on injured reserve. Dave Stapleton usually finished games at 1B at the time. Stupidly, manager John McNamara left Buckner in reportedly because he wanted him to be on the field to celebrate when the Sox clinched the Series.
   40. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5846079)
When I was a very, very young Cubs fan - Bill Buckner was the only Cub I knew for the early part of the 80s.... and looking back, sad as it was, he was the only one WORTH knowing. Durham looked like a keeper, Fergie came home, but there wasn't much else worth remembering until Jody and Ryno (and maybe Durham and Smith) emerged.

Of course, perhaps no player's reputation suffered as much under the saber revolution - I remember (perhaps incorrectly) people talking about Billy Buck getting to 3000 hits and potentially being a HoF candidate.
   41. Jay Z Posted: May 28, 2019 at 09:10 AM (#5846080)
Buckner was lucky Stanley threw the WP. He would have been a much bigger goat. Catastrophically so. Wonder if the winning run could have scored from first?

Also, GAME 5 ALCS. Jeez. That was even a bigger comeback. 2 runs is not insurmountable.
   42. Spahn Insane Posted: May 28, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5846089)
When I was a very, very young Cubs fan - Bill Buckner was the only Cub I knew for the early part of the 80s.... and looking back, sad as it was, he was the only one WORTH knowing. Durham looked like a keeper, Fergie came home, but there wasn't much else worth remembering until Jody and Ryno (and maybe Durham and Smith) emerged.

What, no love for Keith Moreland from you, of all people?

RIP Billy Bucks. He was my first favorite Cub (along with Fergie).
   43. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 09:44 AM (#5846094)
Heh - well, Zonk was doing a really odd Zobrist in 1982.... starting 52 games in LF, 33 in RF, 39 (!) at C, and 2 at 3B in 1982...

It was his blazing hot August in 1984 - followed by his 1985 when he was the only guy healthy and hitting most of the year - that made me a fan!
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: May 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5846103)
Heh - well, Zonk was doing a really odd Zobrist in 1982.... starting 52 games in LF, 33 in RF, 39 (!) at C, and 2 at 3B in 1982...

It was his blazing hot August in 1984 - followed by his 1985 when he was the only guy healthy and hitting most of the year - that made me a fan!


Man, you talk about players who look a lot worse with the modern metrics....Moreland's career-best WAR was 1.8.

And I remember Moreland's August 1984 very well--in fact, the only game I attended that year was August 1, in which Moreland homered (along with Sandberg and Cey, off Carlton), and the Cubs moved into first place by a half game with a Met loss. They would never relinquish that division lead.

Also, Moreland was pretty much a full time catcher before the Cubs traded for him, no?
   45. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5846107)
I think he was a backup C who hit enough to warrant spot starts elsewhere....

I was going to say that his WAR numbers are hurt by his... being really bad playing defense everywhere - and that's true to an extent - but I see that actually, he was basically above replacement level but only middling and rarely average (especially adjusting for corner OFers).

The 80s was weird times....
   46. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 10:38 AM (#5846115)
I said then, I've said it often and I'll say it again now: Mookie Wilson getting out of the way of that passed ball/wild pitch that tied the game was a far bigger play than Buckner's error.

Think about it...if the ball hits him, you now have bases loaded, 2 outs and you're still down a run. Howard Johnson was to be the next batter (the bench was empty, IIRC). Still think the Mets win?

I think it's the 1986 World Champion Boston Red Sox.
   47. Nasty Nate Posted: May 28, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5846122)
Buckner was lucky Stanley threw the WP. He would have been a much bigger goat. Catastrophically so.
Probably not. The game would have been tied, so the Sox could have still won. Or even if the Mets won, other events would have possibly distracted from his play (like Buckner's error distracted people from the Wild Pitch and other earlier plays).
   48. stig-tossled, hornswoggled gef the typing mongoose Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5846124)
We had a flight to catch and turned off the 2013 Iron Bowl to drive to the airport (with my father-in-law who is an Auburn alum) just before the field goal attempt, figuring we'd get there in time to watch the OT before our flight. At least we heard the Pick Six on the radio and watched replays ad nauseum in the airport.


I watched probably 5 minutes of college football that year (which I'm pretty sure is 5 minutes more than I've watched since then). I happened to be in front of a TV screen at a friend's house for (a) the last-minute reception against Georgia & (2) the Pick Six.
   49. Red Voodooin Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:10 AM (#5846125)
I said then, I've said it often and I'll say it again now: Mookie Wilson getting out of the way of that passed ball/wild pitch that tied the game was a far bigger play than Buckner's error.


Yes. And Mookie also fouled off several pitches with two strikes. All told it was one of the most consequential at-bats in major league history.
   50. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5846127)
I have heard two stories on why Buckner was traded from the Dodgers. The first is that Buckner was not really a good outfielder, though the stats say he was ok, and since Garvey was at first LA had excess first base types. The second is that Buckner had decided that Garvey was a fake good guy and was getting others to think like him and LA wanted to crush that before it got started. Anyone help out which is correct? Or both maybe?
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5846133)
fwiw (plus they shared a hatred of walks; neither ever had more than 50 while rarely ever missing a game):


Steve Garvey
‏Verified account @SteveGarvey6
18h18 hours ago

God Bless Bill Buckner on his passing today.This Picture is from our first year together in Ogden 1968 with Tommy [La Sorda] and Bobby Valentine..the greatest draft in ⁦@MLB⁩ history.He was a dear friend, a strong Christian and wonderful husband and father.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5846137)
He was a dear friend, a strong Christian and wonderful husband and father.


Though, obviously, not nearly as good a father as I am.
   53. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:45 AM (#5846138)
51-Thanks. Saw that. Question still holds if that's ok.
   54. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5846143)
For those who haven't read Jeff Pearlman's book about the 1986 Mets, "The Bad Guys Won", there is an excellent chapter on Buckner in there. According to Pearlman, he suffered an ankle injury in 1975 that hobbled him for the rest of his career. He had two ankle surgeries that offseason, then had another surgery in Nov. 1976 during which he got a staph infection which made the ankle even worse. After that, he couldn't play the outfield, and the Dodgers had Garvey at 1B, so they traded Buckner to the Cubs in Jan. 1977.

Looking at the numbers I'm not sure if that timeline completely lines up -- Buckner stole 28 bases and hit 4 triples while playing a supposedly very good LF in 1976, the year after the initial ankle injury. But it's true that he was basically a full-time 1B after the trade, so maybe the 1976 surgery/infection made it obvious he could no longer play the OF, even before the 1977 season started.
   55. Rally Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5846144)
Also, GAME 5 ALCS. Jeez. That was even a bigger comeback. 2 runs is not insurmountable.


The thing that makes the Met's comeback improbable was that it all happened with 2 outs, nobody on. In comparison, Angels had a 3 run lead to start the inning, 3 run lead with a runner on and 1 out, and a 1 run lead with 2 out.

Angels' peak win expectancy was 97%, at the start of the inning. Red Sox were at 92% to start the bottom 11th of game 6, went to 99% when Hernandez made the 2nd out. 3 straight hits gave the Mets a 19% chance to win, the wild pitch made it 60%, and Buckner's error ended it. So the wild pitch is slightly more costly from a WPA standpoint.

In 1986 the methods to calculate this existed, it was touched upon in the Hidden Game of Baseball. But very few people actually had the means or knowledge to do it. If it happened today it would be available online in real time. It does feel correct to me though. While the Buckner error got the most attention because it ended the game, I remember conversations back then, among knowledgeable fans, that debated whether the WP or the E3 was the crucial point of the inning. I'd say a 41-40 WPA difference (rounded so for all I know it might be a half percent) remains too close to call.
   56. GGC Posted: May 28, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5846145)
Didn't Jay Johnstone write that Buckner was a laconic guy? I think that Johnstone rode somewhere in spring training with a team mate and it was a very quiet ride.
   57. Rally Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5846150)
Greatest draft in MLB history? Hard to argue with that, sure was a good one.

Buckner
Joe Ferguson
Doyle Alexander
Garvey
Ron Cey
Tom Paciorek
Davey Lopez
Geoff Zahn
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5846151)

Pearlman also wrote that Buckner showed up to Cubs camp in 1977 walking with a cane and a limp. Bob Kennedy, the Cubs GM, tried to void the deal, calling Buckner "damaged goods", which really pissed off Bill and made him determined to play through the injury that season. But doing so aggravated the ankle and resulted in other injuries throughout the season.
   59. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5846152)
I have heard two stories on why Buckner was traded from the Dodgers. The first is that Buckner was not really a good outfielder, though the stats say he was ok, and since Garvey was at first LA had excess first base types. The second is that Buckner had decided that Garvey was a fake good guy and was getting others to think like him and LA wanted to crush that before it got started. Anyone help out which is correct? Or both maybe?


Well, Garvey was (is) a "fake good guy" - but I tend to doubt any stories about Buckner stirring up anything over it. Granted, it was about ~3 years after the Buckner trade, but everything I know of Garvey's LAD career from clubhouse gossip tends to come from Jay Johnstone's books.... and in said books - Garvey was the Mr Clean that Jay and his crew (Jerry Reuss, Don Stanhouse briefly) used to make fun of and play pranks on... but they seemed to all still hallow him as "Mr Clean" (Johnstone refers to him as Future Senator several times). One funny story was Jay and the guys trying to get Garvey to say the word "F###".... and after an entire spring of ribbing him, Garvey finally unleashed a torrent of the word and various forms of it.... which was spelled out in his first book.

His first book actually caused a minor kerfuffle between him and Tommy Lasorda - with Lasorda whining something about how at least "his book" could be sold at the Dodger stadium souvenir stands, unlike Jay's, due to it's lack of profanity. In his 2nd book - Jay kind of laughed this off, given Tommy's reputation for F bombs - but left page 55 (whatever) intentionally blank (it was the page that was half F bombs and various forms of it, recounting the Garvey needling).
   60. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:16 PM (#5846159)
Didn't Jay Johnstone write that Buckner was a laconic guy? I think that Johnstone rode somewhere in spring training with a team mate and it was a very quiet ride.


He might have... I don't recall him mentioning Buckner - but that's the thing.... as great as Jay's books were, they didn't really take any terrible shots at anyone.

I was a big Ron Cey fan when he was a Cub - and I remember Jay recounting a tale of 'tailoring' Cey's pants to suit his short, stubby legs... and Cey's reaction was just shaking his head and heading to the whirlpool.... then followed by him lauding Cey's work ethic and something about Cey managing to be such a great player despite physical limitations injury.

Maybe I should re-read those books... possible that the 13-14-15 yo me missed some prime cattiness... but my recollection was Jay being pretty evenhanded - "Here are some quirks of guy X and how we pranked him using those quirks... but guy X was a pro that worked hard, yada yada".
   61. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:21 PM (#5846162)
[40]

When I was a very, very young Cubs fan - Bill Buckner was the only Cub I knew for the early part of the 80s.... and looking back, sad as it was, he was the only one WORTH knowing. Durham looked like a keeper, Fergie came home, but there wasn't much else worth remembering until Jody and Ryno (and maybe Durham and Smith) emerged.


No love for Dave Kingman?
   62. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5846165)
No love for Dave Kingman?


Kingman was a bit before my time of any real consciousness... I was born in '73 - and was 5 during his '79 Height of Kong. By '80, he was already sending rats to reporters, no-showing Cubs events honoring him, and rapidly wearing out his welcome. The city and fanbase turned on him rapidly. I'm fairly sure that internet was actually SECRETLY invented in Chicago in 1980 - there's no other explanation for the rapid shift from Kong Worship to Get This ####### Guy Out of Here within a year's time.

As I started playing T ball, it was pretty much Buckner... then came the '84 Cubs as I began collecting baseball cards and learning the player names.
   63. karlmagnus Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:31 PM (#5846167)
On modern metrics, Kong was a better player and much better hitter than Buckner. Bet 1980s fans, even the 1980s Bill James, would have refused to believe that.

Sad the Red Sox never got Kong. A few rats in the press box would have been good for Boston journalism.
   64. TomH Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:43 PM (#5846169)
re: Buckner miscue viewed as key as opposed to multiple other plays that inning: this is par for the course. What was they key play in the 1960 WS game 7? Maz is the only one remembered, but others turned the game more. Mantle's excellent baserunning escape was super-impt, and Hal Smith deserves far more than a WPA record footnote.
   65. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:46 PM (#5846171)
63--Dave Kingman has to be sad he never played in Boston. Per BBREF in 76 at bats he hit 13(!!!) dingers out of 21 hits. But no homers in Milwaukee!
   66. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:50 PM (#5846172)
Kingman was a bit before my time of any real consciousness... I was born in '73 - and was 5 during his '79 Height of Kong. By '80, he was already sending rats to reporters, no-showing Cubs events honoring him, and rapidly wearing out his welcome.


According to the new book out about the 23-22 game, Buckner and Kingman really loathed each other.
   67. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5846175)
66-All I know about Kingman is from the Google but didn't everyone dislike if not hate Kingman? Guy seems like he was kind of a dick who only played baseball because he could do something and make good money at it.
   68. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:04 PM (#5846178)
Yes. Everybody disliked Kong. You don't play for four different teams in a single season if you are beloved.

He was Adam Dunn without the walks and without the sunny disposition - he didn't even like baseball, but could hit balls really far. He actually had a heckuva an arm, too.... but was pretty uninterested in most everything.

The nicest thing I've ever heard anyone who played with Kong say about him was John Stearns comparing his personality to that of a tree trunk.

EDIT: well, played with, managed, coached, or covered/reported... He had the unique ability to rub everyone the wrong way.
   69. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5846180)
Pos on Kingman...

Sounds about right.
   70. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5846181)
453 K's and 450 walks in 10,037 lifetime PA's (~4.5%). By today's standards, that seems unbelievable

he has the fewest BBs for any player with >10000 PAs. And the 2nd lowest TTO %age (.107) next to Nap Lajoie (>090)
   71. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5846187)
he has the fewest BBs for any player with >10000 PAs. And the 2nd lowest TTO %age (.107) next to Nap Lajoie (>090)


I'm given to understand that this means he must have been one of the most exciting players of all time.
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5846189)
According to the new book out about the 23-22 game, Buckner and Kingman really loathed each other.


My opinion of Buckner has been elevated since his passing.

Guy seems like he was kind of a dick


Kind of is way too kind.
   73. DanG Posted: May 28, 2019 at 01:43 PM (#5846190)
Least WAR among the 94 players with 1300+ Games at 1B:

Player           WAR/   WAAOPSRfield    PA From   To
Ed Kranepool      4.4  
-16.5   98  -22.1  5997 1962 1979
Charlie Comiskey  7.7   
-7.5   82   49.0  6040 1882 1894
Eric Karros      10.4  
-11.1  107   -9.4  7100 1991 2004
J
.TSnow        11.0   -9.7  105  -22.0  6553 1992 2008
James Loney      12.1   
-5.3  104   35.0  5487 2006 2016
Charlie Grimm    13.4  
-14.6   94   18.0  8747 1916 1936
Adam LaRoche     14.1   
-5.4  111   -8.0  6329 2004 2015
Ryan Howard      15.0   
-4.9  125  -70.0  6531 2004 2016
Bill Buckner     15.1  
-17.1  100   12.0 10037 1969 1990
Vic Power        15.5   
-4.2   97   65.8  6459 1954 1965
Sean Casey       16.5   
-1.1  109    6.5  5644 1997 2008 
   74. SandyRiver Posted: May 28, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5846195)
re: Buckner miscue viewed as key as opposed to multiple other plays that inning: this is par for the course. What was they key play in the 1960 WS game 7? Maz is the only one remembered, but others turned the game more. Mantle's excellent baserunning escape was super-impt, and Hal Smith deserves far more than a WPA record footnote.

Not exactly a "play", but I'd nominate the pebble in front of Kubek as key. And Mantle's dodge actually took a chance that wasn't necessary if tying the game were the only objective - I'm confident he could've extended a rundown more than long enough. However, what he did also extended the inning, a potentially significant benefit that turned out not to affect the outcome.
   75. DanG Posted: May 28, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5846196)
Most Hits, HOF candidates no longer BBWAA eligible (retiring 2004 or earlier):

Player             H   BA  RBI    PA From   To
Vada Pinson     2757 .286 1169 10403 1958 1975
Al Oliver       2743 .303 1326  9778 1968 1985
Rusty Staub     2716 .279 1466 11229 1963 1985
Bill Buckner    2715 .289 1208 10037 1969 1990
Dave Parker     2712 .290 1493 10184 1973 1991
Doc Cramer      2705 .296  842  9927 1929 1948
Lave Cross      2651 .292 1378  9741 1887 1907
Steve Garvey    2599 .294 1308  9466 1969 1987
Willie Davis    2561 .279 1053  9822 1960 1979
Geo Van Haltren 2544 .316 1015  9017 1887 1903 
   76. GGC Posted: May 28, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5846199)
I'm given to understand that this means he must have been one of the most exciting players of all time.


I'm busy so I don't have time to research this, but when he was on the Red Sox, it seems like he tried to stretch singles into doubles way too often; given his bad wheels. He was also RBI-hungry. That might explain his aversion to walking with men on.
   77. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: May 28, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5846203)
(Buckner) has the fewest BBs for any player with >10000 PAs.

And by far the lowest WAR: just 15.5. (For comparison's sake, Matt Carpenter is already at 14.9 WAR, in just 1,175 PA.) Baines is second-lowest with 38.7.

If the Sox had won in '86 and/or Buckner had got to 3,000 hits, would he have made the HOF?
   78. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 02:57 PM (#5846212)
If the Sox had won in '86 and/or Buckner had got to 3,000 hits, would he have made the HOF?


Yes.

Assuming he plays regularly and keeps slashing hits regularly enough to still retire 1990ish - that puts him on the ballot in the mid 90s.

This is during the period where Darrell Evan and Willie Randolph were going one and done while guys like Grich, Nettles, Lou, Dewey and others were nearly so. Meanwhile, Garvey was doing better than any of them and Morris was lapping Blyleven.

With 3000 hits? He sails in. Maybe it takes a coupe ballots - I can see the columns already struggling his sub .300 AVG - but he makes it.
   79. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 28, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5846218)
The upside of Buckner's error is that it has overshadowed the extent to which he helped the Red Sox lose that World Series with his putrid hitting. He hit .188 with no walks or extra-base hits, and drove in just one run, despite hitting third for the Sox in all seven games. Jim Rice took some grief because he didn't drive in a single run in the series, but that's mostly because Buckner, hitting right ahead of him in the lineup, kept making the third out.

Hey, just for fun, let's take a look at what happened each time Buckner came up with men on base:

Game One, 1st inning: With one man on first and one out, Buckner GIDPs
Game Two, 3rd inning: With men on first and third and nobody out, Buckner singles in a run
Game Two: 6th inning: With a man on first and two out, Buckner whiffs
Game Three, 3rd inning: With men on first and second one one out, Buckner whiffs
Game Three, 5th inning: With men on first and second and two out, Buckner grounds out
Game Four, 1st inning: With a man on second and one out, Buckner grounds out
Game Four, 5th inning: With men on first and third and two out, Buckner pops out to second
Game Four, 7th inning: With men on first and second and two out, Buckner pops out to short
Game Five, 4th inning; With men on first and third and two out, Buckner grounds out
Game Five, 8th inning: With men on second and third and two out, Buckner pops out to third
Game Six, 1st inning; With a man on first and one out, Buckner flies out
Game Six, 2nd inning: With men on first and second and two outs, Buckner flies out
Game Six, 5th inning: With a man on first and one out, Buckner flies out
Game Six, 7th inning: With a man on first and one out, Buckner grounds out
Game Six, 8th inning: With the bases loaded and two out, Buckner flies out
Game Six, 10th inning: With a man on second and two out, Buckner is hit by a pitch
Game Seven, 2nd inning: With men on first and second and two out, Buckner flies out

Buckner came up 17 times in that series with runners on base, for a total of 28 baserunners, and drove in one, in a game the Sox won 9-3. In the fateful Game Six, he batted six times with men on, a total of nine baserunners, and didn't drive one in. He did get hit by a pitch once, so I suppose that's something.
   80. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 03:17 PM (#5846221)
And by far the lowest WAR: just 15.5. (For comparison's sake, Matt Carpenter is already at 14.9 WAR, in just 1,175 PA.) Baines is second-lowest with 38.7.

From another thread and only sharing because I thought it was amazing a player who did not get past the 10,000 pa threshold (9927) but had HALF THE WAR of Buckner was a player named Doc Cramer.
   81. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5846226)
Of course - one problem with WAR at certain high PA levels is that it generally might be expected to show longtime players chipping off their high.

Back of the napkin, but in Buckner's case -- it looks like he managed to lose about 3 WAR over his last ~3 seasons in part-time work.

Of course - that still leaves him at a friendly adjustment of 18, which still makes him a pretty extreme outlier.... but it's kind of the Pujols problem. He's managed to inch his way over 100 WAR.... but unless he retires in short order, it seems almost certain he'll end up dipping below 100 before the end.
   82. Master of the Horse Posted: May 28, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5846228)
79--Was this even noticed at the time? That is some serious shittastic performance
   83. karlmagnus Posted: May 28, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5846230)
Sox would have done better with Kong in '86. 35 HR that year, he'd have been bound to have hit a couple in the World Series. And McNamara would have hated him, so would have substituted Stapleton for him at 1B.
   84. SandyRiver Posted: May 28, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5846243)
79--Was this even noticed at the time?

I did, though only a bit later did I find out that, thanks to Buckner, Rice got to lead off an inning 15 times, which limited his RBI opportunities a bit. I also recall that, following that Buckner HBP, Rice hit a screamer to deep right on which Straw made a nice running stab for the 3rd out, saving at least one run (would've needed the right carom for Buckner to score from 1st.) Thought it wasn't too important, right at that moment.
   85. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 28, 2019 at 04:59 PM (#5846250)
would've needed the right carom for Buckner to score from 1st
You mean, like, through a wormhole into an alternate dimension?
   86. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 28, 2019 at 05:11 PM (#5846253)
Fun Buckner fact: his last MLB home run was an inside the parker.
   87. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: May 28, 2019 at 05:19 PM (#5846254)
Fun Buckner fact: his last MLB home run was an inside the parker.


I knew the Cobra let himself go a bit near the end, but I didn't realize he was eating baseballs....
   88. Howie Menckel Posted: May 28, 2019 at 09:44 PM (#5846317)
that also was his ONLY career inside-the-parker

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