Bill Buckner

Birthdate 12/14/1949
Death Date
Debut Year 1969
Year of Induction
Teams Angels, Dodgers, Red Sox, Royals
Positions Designated Hitter, First Base, Left Field

Former All Star and batting champion Bill Buckner had more career hits than Hall of Fame heroes Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio

In the collection:

USA Passport issued to 19-year old Bill Buckner

USA Passport issued to 19-year old Bill Buckner

In the collection is this passport issued by the United States to baseball star Bill Buckner during his teen years. Dated just 18 days after Buckner played his final game of 1970, this official document was issued on October 19, 1970. Though his status as a rookie was still intact, Buckner was a vet
Signature page of Bill Buckner's personal USA passport

Signature page of Bill Buckner's personal USA passport

A picture of 19-year old Bill Buckner adorns the inside page of the player’s USA passport issued in 1970. Buckner has signed his more familiar autograph with his first name though inside of the document is an international certificate of vaccination with a more formal and legal, “William
1968 minor league contract with Dodgers - Bill Buckner's first as a pro & at 18-years old

1968 minor league contract with Dodgers - Bill Buckner's first as a pro & at 18-years old

Here’s the start to what would be an outstanding career. Buckner signed this contract June 21st, 1968, six months shy of his 19th birthday. The contract calls for Buckner to make a measly $500 per month while playing
1968 professional player's contract - signature page

1968 professional player's contract - signature page

The signature page bears not only the autographs of Bill Buckner, but also that of his mother, Mary Katherine. He would play only three seasons in the minor leagues before embarking on a 22-year odyssey in the Major Leagues. He lasted all of 64 games with the
Bill Buckner's initial 1968 contract with Topps Chewing Gum to appear on baseball cards

Bill Buckner's initial 1968 contract with Topps Chewing Gum to appear on baseball cards

Topps approached Bill Buckner with a contract to appear on baseball cards. Imagine the thoughts running threw his head, just six months after his 18th birthday. In the collection is the contract Buckner signed to first appear
Backside of first Topps contract; Buckner tried to forge his mom's signature for consent

Backside of first Topps contract; Buckner tried to forge his mom's signature for consent

On the back side of the contract is the parents consent signature line. Because of Buckner’s
Bill Buckner first Topps baseball card contract extension, 1969

Bill Buckner first Topps baseball card contract extension, 1969

Shown here is the first contract extension that Buckner signed with the Topps Chewing Gum company. One can imagine how excited the 19-year old Buckner was in 1969. He played Major League Baseball until age 40.

1969 ticket from Bill Buckner's September 21 MLB debut

1969 ticket from Bill Buckner's September 21 MLB debut

This ticket gained one lucky fan admission to Bill Buckner’s MLB debut on September 21, 1969. Buckner went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in
1970 contract to appear on stamped autographed baseballs

1970 contract to appear on stamped autographed baseballs

Another early example of Bill Buckner’s autograph. This one is on a contract to appear on souvenir baseballs with stamped signatures of the entire team. Buckner received a whopping one penny per ball sold.

1970 Buckner autographed Topps rookie card

1970 Buckner autographed Topps rookie card

The first Bill Buckner baseball card from the 1970 Topps set. Here Buckner signs along his image that is lacking his now trademark mustache. Jack Jenkins, the pitcher shown here with Buckner went winless in 8 career games though he  did record one Major League hit.

1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks for Bill Buckner

1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks for Bill Buckner

Big money for Bill Buckner. In just over two months, Topps paid Buckner $325. It might not sound like much, but keep in mind the Major League minimum in 1971 was $12,750.

1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks endorsed by Bill Buckner

1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks endorsed by Bill Buckner

Early Buckner signatures can be found on the back of each of the two checks. Buckner has signed his full legal name, “William Joseph Buckner”.

1972 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards

1972 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards

The year following the two Topps checks above, Buckner signed another contract extension. This one calls for $75 and is signed on March 3, 1972. Here Buckner signs a more familiar, “Bill Buckner”.

Bill Buckner signed endorsement questionnaire from MLBPA

Bill Buckner signed endorsement questionnaire from MLBPA

The Major League Baseball Players Association sent out questionnaires like this one to its players to determine what endorsements each man had. Today’s players compliment their baseball salary with off field endorsement but that wasn’t always the case. This document filled out by Bill Buckner i
Closeup of 1973 Darrell Evans signed endorsement questionnaire from MLBPA

Closeup of 1973 Darrell Evans signed endorsement questionnaire from MLBPA

Shown here is the closeup of Bill Buckner’s signature at the bottom of the 1973 MLBPA endorsement questionnaire. Just below his signature, Buckner has written, “LA Dodgers”, the club with which he spent his first eight Major League seasons. Buckner hit .289 for the Dodgers, the ex
1975 Topps baseball card original artwork for the back of Buckner's card

1975 Topps baseball card original artwork for the back of Buckner's card

This artwork appeared on the back of Buckner’s 1975 Topps card. Would you have gotten the trivia question right?

1976 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards

1976 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards

Yet another Topps extension, this one for 1976. Buckner goes back to his more formal, “William Joseph Buckner” on 3/25/1976.

1980 NL batting champion; George Brett was the AL champ

1980 NL batting champion; George Brett was the AL champ

Buckner was among the games best hitters and toughest to strike out. In 1980 he won the
1985 Boston Red Sox payroll check for Bill Buckner

1985 Boston Red Sox payroll check for Bill Buckner

Though he played in Los Angeles and Chicago for eight years each and in Boston for only five,
1987 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards -- final contract

1987 Topps contract for Bill Buckner to appear on baseball cards -- final contract

On this Topps contract extension, Buckner
1987 Player's contract with the Angels - Buckner was traded from Boston for his own safety

1987 Player's contract with the Angels - Buckner was traded from Boston for his own safety

After committing the error in the 1986 World
1987 Player's contract with the Angels - signature page

1987 Player's contract with the Angels - signature page

The signature page has the autograph of Buckner, Angels’ VP Mike Port, and the secretarial signature of AL President Bobby Brown as signed by Bob Fishel.

1990 ticket stub for Buckner's last homer - inside the park!

1990 ticket stub for Buckner's last homer - inside the park!

Imagine the hobbled Bill Buckner hitting an inside-the-park home run.
1990 Boston Red Sox payroll check - -Buckner's last as a player

1990 Boston Red Sox payroll check - -Buckner's last as a player

The collection starts with Bill Buckner’s first professional contract and ends with his final payroll check he received as a player. With quite a lot in between, the collection has one of the finest Buckner-related assemblies of contracts, documents, checks, and ticket stubs.

A Story about Bill Buckner

Many call it the greatest draft in the history of pro sports

August 20th, 2015

In 1968, the Dodgers drafted nine players who would go on to play a total of 148 seasons in the Major Leagues, appear in 23 All Star games, total over 11,000 hits, and club more than 1,100 home runs. The two pitchers from the draft tallied 305 big league wins. Add in six Gold Glove Awards, a batting championship, an All Star MVP award, a regular-season MVP award, a World Series MVP award, and the N.L. record holder for consecutive games played, and it’s easy to see why many believe it’s the greatest draft by any team in the history of professional sports. “The draft of 1968 was historical,” said Ron Cey, one of the players drafted that year. “97% of the cream of the crop each year is supposed to fail. That draft might be the best draft in history with a bunch of guys who played 15 years or so, Bobby Valentine, Billy Buckner, Davey Lopes, Tom Paciorek, Doyle Alexander, Steve Garvey, Joe Ferguson, myself. That’s a lot of guys right there.” Cey failed to include 111-game winner, Geoff Zahn, a Dodger teammate for three seasons. The selection of those players laid the foundation for continued excellence in Los […]

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