Bill Buckner

Bill Buckner
Birthdate 12/14/1949
Death Date 5/27/2019
Debut Year 1969
Year of Induction
Teams Angels, Cubs, 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.

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In the collection:

Bill Buckner played parts of four different decades in the big leagues

Bill Buckner played parts of four different decades in the big leagues

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.
When Buckner signed his first professional contract he was 18 years old

When Buckner signed his first professional contract he was 18 years old

The 1968 draft by the Dodgers was one of the greatest in professional sports history. Los Angeles drafted former batting champ Bill Buckner, 1974 MVP Steve Garvey, 194-game winner Doyle Alexander, and former All Stars Ron Cey and Davey Lopes. Buckner signed on June 21, 1968. Shown here is the signat
At 19 years old, Buckner played winter ball in the Dominican and Venezuela

At 19 years old, Buckner played winter ball in the Dominican and Venezuela

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 the 1970 season, this official document was issued on October 19, 1970. Buckner used this passport to player winter ball in th
Here is the signature page of Bill Buckner's 1970 personal US passport

Here is the signature page of Bill Buckner's 1970 personal US 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. The inside of the document is an international certificate of vaccination with a more formal and legal, “William J
Buckner signed with Topps Chewing Gum six months after his 18th birthday

Buckner signed with Topps Chewing Gum six months after his 18th birthday

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 on the cardboard keepsakes. Buckner’s signature appears next to Top
Buckner tried to forge his mom's signature for consent when he signed with Topps

Buckner tried to forge his mom's signature for consent when he signed with Topps

On the back side of the contract is the parents consent signature line. Because of Buckner’s age, he would need one of his parents to grant permission to sign the contract. It appears Buckner has written his mother’s name on the signature line. It’s easy to picture an 18-year old c
Buckner played his first eight Major League seasons in Los Angeles

Buckner played his first eight Major League seasons in Los Angeles

Bill Buckner’s first contract with Topps was for a five-year term. Though it did not expire until 1973, Topps signed Buckner to an extension in ’69. Shown here is that 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. Drafted by the Dodgers in 1968,
Bill Buckner debut on 9/21/69; this ticket admitted a lucky fan to that game

Bill Buckner debut on 9/21/69; this ticket admitted a lucky fan to that game

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 a game that was started by two Hall of Fame pitchers, the Giants’ Gaylord Perry and the Dodgers’ Jim Bunning. This game was the only contest he
Billy Buck signed earned one cent each time a souvenir baseball with his signature was sold

Billy Buck signed earned one cent each time a souvenir baseball with his signature was sold

Souvenir stands in baseball stadiums across America carry baseballs with the stamped autographs of the members of the home team. To have their signatures appear on such balls, players sign contracts with the Autographed Baseball Company. Shown here is Buckner’s contract with the company. Dated
Bill Buckner first appeared on this baseball card for Topps Chewing Gum

Bill Buckner first appeared on this baseball card for Topps Chewing Gum

The first Bill Buckner baseball card from the 1970 Topps set is shown here. This card is titled “1970 Rookie Stars” and also features Jack Jenkins. Buckner was a star in the making by 1970. He played in 22 big league seasons. Jenkins pitched in eight games in his career, going winless. H
Topps Chewing Gum plays a little less than you think to have players appear on baseball cards

Topps Chewing Gum plays a little less than you think to have players appear on baseball cards

The first year Bill Buckner played in as many as 100 games was 1971. The Major League minimum salary that season was $12,750. Many big leaguers making the minimum had off-season jobs to help augment their income. They welcomed any endorsement opportunities. Shown here is a pair of checks made out to
1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks endorsed by Bill Buckner

1971 Topps Chewing Gum Sports Department checks endorsed by Bill Buckner

Many autograph collectors seek signed checks. The checks provide context to the autograph. The back of the 1971 checks from Topps to Buckner are shown here endorsed by the player. Then 21 years old, Buckner has signed his first, middle, and last name to the back of the check. Signatures from early i
The year he signed this contract, Buckner struck out 19 times in 405 plate appearances

The year he signed this contract, Buckner struck out 19 times in 405 plate appearances

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”. The 1972 season would see Buckner produce a .319 average and strike out only 19 times in 40
In 1973 Buckner had no product endorsements of any kind

In 1973 Buckner had no product endorsements of any kind

The Major League Baseball Players Association sent out questionnaires like this one to its members. The MLBPA wanted to determine what endorsements each man had. Today’s players compliment their baseball salary with off field endorsement. That wasn’t always the case. This document filled out by Bill Buckner in 1973 shows
This is the original artwork for the back of Buckner's 1975 Topps baseball card

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

This artwork appeared on the back of Buckner’s 1975 Topps card. The question revolves around the Dodger franchise that Buckner played for that year. Do you know the year of Brooklyn’s only championship? Would you have gotten the trivia question right? The answer of course is 1955 when the Bums bested
Buckner's last year in LA was 1976; the next year he was traded for Rick Monday

Buckner's last year in LA was 1976; the next year he was traded for Rick Monday

Yet another Topps extension, this one for 1976. Buckner goes back to his more formal, “William Joseph Buckner” on 3/25/1976. The ’76 campaign would be Buckner’s last with the Dodgers before being traded to the Chicago Cubs for Rick Monday. The trade helped both players and cl
In 1980 Buckner wore the NL batting crown; George Brett led the AL

In 1980 Buckner wore the NL batting crown; George Brett led the AL

Buckner was among the games best hitters and toughest to strike out. In 1980 he won the National League batting crown. This Topps card show him with George Brett, the American League batting champ and is signed by both. Buckner appeared in the 1981 All Star game and in the World Series in 1975 and 1
Buckner played in all 162 games only once in his career - in Boston in 1985

Buckner played in all 162 games only once in his career - in Boston in 1985

Though he played in Los Angeles and Chicago for eight years each and in Boston for only five, Bill Buckner is best remembered as a member of the Red Sox. In the collection is a payroll check from the Sox dated May 7, 1985. That season, Buckner played in all 162 games for the only time in his career
This is Buckner's final contract with Topps Chewing Gum, good through the 1990 season

This is Buckner's final contract with Topps Chewing Gum, good through the 1990 season

On this Topps contract extension, Buckner offers a variation of his signature, penning, “William J Buckner”. This is dated July 26, 1987, two days before the Red Sox traded him to the Angels. Buckner’s ’87 MLB players contract with the Halos is shown in the next image.
After his release from Boston in '87, Buckner signed with the Angels

After his release from Boston in '87, Buckner signed with the Angels

After committing the error in the 1986 World Series, the Boston fans were relentless in their poor treatment of their former beloved first baseman. It got so bad that the Red Sox decided to release him. Within 72 hours Buckner had offers from five other big league teams before choosing to sign wit
With the Angles, Buckner returned to his native state

With the Angles, Buckner returned to his native state

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. Contracts often supply collectors with multiple signatures. Buckner returned to his native California, albeit six hours south of where he gr
Buckner's final homer never left the playing field; he hobbled around the bases

Buckner's final homer never left the playing field; he hobbled around the bases

Imagine the hobbled Bill Buckner hitting an inside-the-park home run. It was the last homer he’d ever hit at the big league level. The game was at Fenway Park against the Angels a little before Buckner’s release from the Red Sox. In the bottom of the fourth and two out, Buckner hit Kirk
In 2008 Boston fans embraced Buckner as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch

In 2008 Boston fans embraced Buckner as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch

The Red Sox signed Bill Buckner for the final 22 games of his career. The fans’ memory of his error was still vivid. It was an uncomfortable reunion. The story does have a happy ending. The long-suffering Boston franchise broke their 86-year World Series drought in 2004. Then they won it again

A Story about Bill Buckner

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

August 20th, 2015 Leave a comment

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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4 responses to “Bill Buckner”

  1. Carl J Root says:

    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.

  2. Charles Tiberon says:

    A batting champion with my Cubs!

  3. Christopher bell says:

    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.

  4. David Lange says:

    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.

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