Crouch: Saying goodbye to Bill Buckner and the myths we attached to him

From Ian Crouch at The New Yorker on May 30, 2019:

Even in the bad years, before the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, in 2004, and upended all the foundational bad-luck stories of the franchise, the smart take among Sox fans was that it wasn’t really Bill Buckner’s fault. Blame it—and the word “it” alone always sufficed—on a rogue’s gallery of pitchers (Roger Clemens or Calvin Schiraldi or Bob Stanley, take your pick), or on the manager, John McNamara.

The cruel, late-inning crumbling by the Sox against the Mets, in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, which derailed a victory that would have given the Sox their first championship in sixty-eight years, was a true team effort. The score was already tied and good fortune clearly exhausted by the bottom of the tenth inning, when the Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson hit a meek dribbler down the first-base line that bounded not under Buckner’s glove, as many would later put it, but somehow, impossibly, around it and into right field, allowing Wilson’s teammate Ray Knight to score from second, winning the game for New York.

Those wised-up Sox fans would then add that, even after all that, there was still another game for Boston to play—and blow a lead in—before the Series reached its dismal end.

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Originally published: May 30, 2019. Last Updated: May 30, 2019.