Goldman: Bill Buckner: I sing the body glyptodon

From SABR member Steven Goldman at The Hardball Times on May 31, 2019:

You’ve never seen a glyptodon. Your distant ancestors likely did. It was roughly the same size and shape as a Volkswagen Beetle. It died for our breakfasts. As hard as it is to imagine eating an 11-foot long, two-ton pseudo-armadillo, your ancestors might have consumed one, or several, until they were gone forever. Until human beings showed up brandishing pointy sticks, the glyptodon, heavily armored and carrying a tail that doubled as a club (or, if you will, a bat), presumably went along on its merry way, doing what it wanted to do and going where it wanted to go—aside from the odd saber-toothed tiger, nothing was going to attempt to deflect a living armored car—never thinking much about the consequences.

Former major league first baseman and outfielder Bill Buckner, who died on May 27, was glyptodon-like in two ways, neither of which had anything to do with Game Six of the 1986 World Series except insofar as those qualities led him to being in that game at that place and time. Big-game goats are hardly unique, as the several players who have worn the horns, from Fred Merkle onwards, attest. There have been so many over the years that we’ve even misplaced a few, including Buckner—he didn’t make a seemingly fatal error in one World Series, but two, a fact that tended to get lost in the rush to consider Buckner’s personal ordeal in the aftermath of the more iconic shock ending in ‘86.

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Originally published: May 31, 2019. Last Updated: May 31, 2019.