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How Was Buckner Treated In '87?

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  • How Was Buckner Treated In '87?

    I asked this in the History Forum, but thought I'd probably get better answers if I go directly to Sox fans. Buckner played half a season in Boston in 1987, the season after the infamous play. How was he treated in Boston that year? Was the resentment for Buckner something that built up after time, or something that immediate?

  • #2
    As best as I can recall, the reaction was immediate. Within 24 hrs of that fateful play I was told that Buckner tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a bus, but it went between his legs. That grounder was replayed several times the next night, about as often as the footage of Joe Theisman breaking his femur, and it reinforced the impression that the loss of both game and series hinged on that one play. Many years later I had to be reminded that the error was in extra-innings after the save had been blown and Bob Stanley had thrown a wild pitch. The wheels were already coming off, and yet we all remembered it as if a routine play by Buckner would have been victory.

    One could almost say that the Buckner moment was amplified in a way similar to A-Rod's interference at first base in the 2004 ALCS. It was much easier to focus on one glaring moment that could be blamed on one single player than it was to blame the whole team for a lack of focus.

    2007 World Series Champions
    The Boston Red Sox

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    • #3
      Originally posted by FlashGordon
      One could almost say that the Buckner moment was amplified in a way similar to A-Rod's interference at first base in the 2004 ALCS. It was much easier to focus on one glaring moment that could be blamed on one single player than it was to blame the whole team for a lack of focus.
      For me, the one shining moment in that series was Ortiz' HR in game 4. The ARod incident sticks out, but not as much as the heroics of Ortiz.


      As far as Buckner goes, I never blamed him for 1986. The ones who didn't know any better did, despite that there were several factors that led to the Sox' demise. I was at a New England "Gray Sox" game in the early 90s, which was a barnstorming team made up of Red Sox old timers, as well as over-the-hill guys from other teams. Buckner was part of it and every time he came to bat, he heard a chorus of boos. I mean a LOT of boos, and this was 5 years after the fact! In the Ken Burns baseball documentary, Dan Okrent was quoted as saying something like "it was nice that the fans forgave him" or something like that. Sorry, Dan, but that's completely untrue. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that if Buckner was announced at Fenway any time before 2004, he'd get a lot of boos.

      The guy had a great career, even HOF worthy according to some, but everyone will be hung up on that one game. Even though we've won one.

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      • #4
        i was wondering the same thing myself, cus i saw that he got a standing ovation when returning to fenway in 1990, which surprised me to learn.

        and i'm with you pesky, schilling and papi are what i'll take from that more than anything else. i hate the way everyone uses the words "heroic" as an adjective in sports, but schilling's performance was as close to that as any i've ever seen. and papi's performance was one of the more incredible step-up performances i've ever seen.
        Gelatin Fernandalism

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PhilWings24
          i was wondering the same thing myself, cus i saw that he got a standing ovation when returning to fenway in 1990, which surprised me to learn.
          I remember when Buckner hit an in-the-park homer (when Claudell Washington, trying to field the ball, fell over the wall in right field), and the crowd just about went wild. There may have been some ignorant boneheads booing him, but for I seem to remember his return to Fenway in '90 being like the return of the prodigal son.

          and i'm with you pesky, schilling and papi are what i'll take from that more than anything else. i hate the way everyone uses the words "heroic" as an adjective in sports, but schilling's performance was as close to that as any i've ever seen. and papi's performance was one of the more incredible step-up performances i've ever seen.
          I agree. And don't forget Bellhorn's opposite-field HR in the Stadium, and Wakefield's heart-stopping 3 innings of relief in Game 5, and Lowe, and Foulke....

          Oh oh oh!! I have to get out the tapes and watch it all again! :gt
          --Annie
          Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)
          Remember Yellowdog
          ABNY

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          • #6
            Originally posted by FlashGordon
            As best as I can recall, the reaction was immediate. Within 24 hrs of that fateful play I was told that Buckner tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a bus, but it went between his legs.
            LOL! I love that!

            One could almost say that the Buckner moment was amplified in a way similar to A-Rod's interference at first base in the 2004 ALCS. It was much easier to focus on one glaring moment that could be blamed on one single player than it was to blame the whole team for a lack of focus.
            Here in NY, as much as everyone hates A-Rod, no one really harps on that moment, or really any one moment of A-Rod's for that matter. Perhaps the moment is big in Red Sox lore (but as Pesky said, I would think Ortiz's heroics would trump that), but it's really kind of faded in Yankees history, and I certainly don't think it has the infamy of Buckner's play.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by VTSoxFan
              I remember when Buckner hit an in-the-park homer (when Claudell Washington, trying to field the ball, fell over the wall in right field), and the crowd just about went wild. There may have been some ignorant boneheads booing him, but for I seem to remember his return to Fenway in '90 being like the return of the prodigal son.
              That's right, the Sox reacquired Buckner at the very end of his career. By the late 90s when I was living in Boston, I got the feeling that the Sox and Sox fans wouldn't touch Buckner with a 100 foot pole. The fact that he came back in '87 and then again in '90, led me to wonder if the personal disgust directed at Buckner kind of festered over time and was much worse 15 years later than it was 1 year later. I could be wrong, I just think it's curious that he would be brought back, especially given my memory of the general Boston sentiment towards him in the late 90s/early 00s.

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              • #8
                Buckner was a great player who, in his career, played in an all star game, won a batting title, and knocked out over 2500 hits. i don't blame buckner, i blame Bob Stanley who allowed the tying run with that wild pitch.
                "He studied hitting like a broker studies the stock market, how a scribe studies the scriptures" - Carl Yastrzemski on Ted Williams

                "The greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history has done it again! Big Papi!" - Don Orsillo's call of Ortiz's walk-off single

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by keepthefaith3
                  Buckner was a great player who, in his career, played in an all star game, won a batting title, and knocked out over 2500 hits. i don't blame buckner, i blame Bob Stanley who allowed the tying run with that wild pitch.
                  Buckner finished with an impressive 2715 hits, despite missing significant time throughout his career due to injuries. If Buckner was a little healthier in his career, he may have challenged 3000 hits and would make for a very, very interesting Hall of Fame debate.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DoubleX
                    Here in NY, as much as everyone hates A-Rod, no one really harps on that moment, or really any one moment of A-Rod's for that matter. Perhaps the moment is big in Red Sox lore (but as Pesky said, I would think Ortiz's heroics would trump that), but it's really kind of faded in Yankees history, and I certainly don't think it has the infamy of Buckner's play.
                    The Yankees do have a longer tradition of winning, so are less in need of scapegoats. Also, as a Sox fan, I'll always remember Papi's walk-off in Game 5, probably more than the Dave Roberts steal the night before.

                    That said, the A-Rod glove slap was seriously over-played and became cartoony in its dimensions. If the Yankees end up going a very long time before getting back to the WS, I could see the media digging up that footage as an emblematic moment (or if A-Rod gets traded). It's one of those events that seems made for TV. Unfortunately for Buckner, his made-for-TV moment came while playing for the hapless 1986 Red Sox.

                    Entirely unfair, I agree. But we're not talking about fair here; we're talking about Buckner's treatment by the fans of RSN. We have to be honest, on the whole they were merciless. He didn't just move to Idaho because its where his heart is.

                    2007 World Series Champions
                    The Boston Red Sox

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                    • #11
                      Here's a question for everyone: Has the way Buckner treated this "incident" helped or hurt his reputation in RSN? Personally, there's something I just don't like about him, he seems bore bitter about how he was treated than how bitter RSN was at him after '86.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FlashGordon
                        The Yankees do have a longer tradition of winning, so are less in need of scapegoats. Also, as a Sox fan, I'll always remember Papi's walk-off in Game 5, probably more than the Dave Roberts steal the night before.

                        That said, the A-Rod glove slap was seriously over-played and became cartoony in its dimensions. If the Yankees end up going a very long time before getting back to the WS, I could see the media digging up that footage as an emblematic moment (or if A-Rod gets traded). It's one of those events that seems made for TV. Unfortunately for Buckner, his made-for-TV moment came while playing for the hapless 1986 Red Sox.

                        Entirely unfair, I agree. But we're not talking about fair here; we're talking about Buckner's treatment by the fans of RSN. We have to be honest, on the whole they were merciless. He didn't just move to Idaho because its where his heart is.
                        You could be right. If the Yankees go a long time without winning the World Series, the Curse of A-Rod might just be born, and that moment will likely be played to death.

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