Buckner is best known for one play – an error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that helped propel the Mets to a title over his Red Sox – but that doesn’t do justice to his career. A second-round pick of the Dodgers in 1968, Buckner debuted a year later and didn’t conclude his career until 1990 with the Red Sox. He also spent time with the Cubs, Royals and Angels, hitting .289/.321/.408 with 174 home runs and 183 stolen bases in upward of 10,000 plate appearances.
In what was likely the crowning personal achievment of his career, Buckner won the NL batting title as a Cub in 1980 with a .324 average. A year later, he earned his lone All-Star nod. Buckner logged a few more productive seasons thereafter, including with the Red Sox, though the way ’86 ended left a bad taste for Boston fans. Eventually, ill feelings between them and Buckner were put aside. Buckner returned to Fenway Park to a roaring ovation in 2008, four years after the Red Sox broke an 86-year championship drought and one season after they took home yet another title, to throw out the first pitch on Opening Day. Buckner later poked fun at himself in a 2011 episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in which he made a life-saving catch.
Since Buckner’s passing, there has been an outpouring of support from the many who respected him as a person and a baseball player. MLBTR echoes those sentiments.