Selected in the second round of the 1968, Bill Buckner began his career in professional baseball when he signed with the Dodgers as an 18-year old. Shown here is that contract, dated June 21st, 1968. The contract calls for Buckner to make a measly $500 per month while playing for the Rookie League Ogden Baseball Club in the Pioneer League.
Buckner played 64 games for Ogden that season and hit .344, earning a promotion to Triple-A Spokane for ’69. Buckner’s ascent to the Majors continued as he hit .315 in Triple-A. The Dodgers rewarded Buckner with a September call up.
In parts of 8 seasons in Los Angeles, Buckner hit .289. Smart on the base paths, Buckner stole 31 bases for the 1974 pennant-winning Dodgers. That same season he hit .314.
In January, 1977, Los Angeles shipped him to the Cubs in exchange for Rick Monday. In Chicago, Buckner blossomed. Switching to first base from the outfield, Buckner hit exactly .300 in more than 4,000 plate appearances with the Cubs.
In 1980, Buckner won the National League batting crown. The following season he led the Senior Circuit in doubles for the first time. Chicago traded future Buckner for future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley
in late May, 1984.
is first full season in Boston, Buckner hit .299, matching a career high with 16 homers, and drove in a career-best 110 runs. In ’86, he helped push the Red Sox to the post season. Buckner reached the century mark in RBI for the third and final time of his career.
The same season he established a new career high with 18 homers. On June 5, 1986 Buckner drove in the 1,000th run of his career.
Despite the fine offensive numbers, Buckner will forever be remembered for something else in ’86. That moment came in Game 6 of the World Series against the Mets. In the 10th inning with the Sox needing just one more out to clinch their first World Championship since 1918, Buckner allowed a Mookie Wilson’s ground ball to get by him
The winning run scored. New York went on to win the game and Game 7 two days later.
Boston fans were merciless on the former batting champion. Buckner could not escape their scorn. Fans heckled him. Buckner even received death threats.
The Red Sox released him on the 23rd of July; the Angels signed him five days later. He hit .306 the rest of the season with the Halos, but the team released him in May, 1988.
Buckner signed with Kansas City for whom he’d play until the end of the ’89 season. Buckner rejoined the Red Sox in 1990 and played 22 games before ending his career.
The former All Star and two-time pennant winner ended his career with 2,715 career hits. The total is more than that of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Joe DiMaggio.
A great tribute to Bill Buckner……flagged by one play with Boston. Met his son, 2nd Baseman, for a games I officiated, College Level Summer League, San Luis Obispo, CA, “Blues”. Was told that his Father was doing well, Ranch in Idaho. Glad to hear.
A batting champion with my Cubs!
He should be in the hall. If you say border line hall of famer. Then he is a hall of fame candidate.. Read Scapegoats, my book.
Forever remembered for one play in the ‘86 World Series. But as a Cub fan I will always remember him as a player who gave everything he had every game he played, and with great skill. Maybe not a Hall of Famer, but among the most revered players of the late 20th century.
Thank you Bill Buckner for making me a better player when I was young, and a better fan than I knew I could be.
Loved watching Billy Buck play and hit for my Cubbies