Closure For Billy Buck?

Former Cub Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch before the Red Sox home opener Tuesday against the Tigers. In a tearful press conference--lot of that going around this week--Buckner said he had finally been able to forgive the media for the brutal treatment he and his family had received following Buckner's fateful error in Game Six of the Sox' 1986 World Series loss to the Mets.

For a whole generation of fans, Buckner's connection to that Mookie Wilson-hit ground ball has obscured the fact that the guy was a terrific baseball player. The onetime Dodger played seven full seasons on the North Side after the Cubs had acquired him and Ivan DeJesus in a January, 1977 trade for Rick Monday.

Buckner played on some terrible Cub teams between '77 and '83, and he played for some terrible managers, including Herman Franks and Lee Elia. In fact, Buckner's first season with the Cubs was the only one in which the club finished .500. But Buckner hit better than .300 four times for the Cubs and won the NL batting title in '80 with a .324 mark. He managed to do that while limping around on chronically sore ankles that required extensive treatment and taping before each and every game.

The Cubs eventually traded Buckner to Boston in May of '84, a deal that opened up an opportunity for young Leon Durham to play first base full-time and brought Dennis Eckersley to Chicago. Durham and Eckersley were key figures in the Cubs' 1984 NL East championship. (Durham, of course, had an unfortunate post-season encounter of his own with a ground ball.)

Buckner was not as productive in Boston has he had been with the Cubs, though he did collect better than 100 RBI in his two full seasons with the Red Sox. Then Mookie Wilson happened to him. And the jokes. And the bitterness.

Buckner, who ended his 22-year career in 1990 with 2715 hits and a .289 lifetime average, was one of my favorite Cubs in the years he played here. And I am happy to see that on Tuesday in Fenway Park, where he received a long standing ovation as he hobbled out to the pitching mound to throw that ceremonial first pitch, Buckner seems to have closed a miserable chapter in an otherwise distinguished Major League career.

For the record, Buckner's numbers in his seven full seasons with the Cubs ('77--'83):

G AVG
H
HR
RBI
953 .301 1127 81 514

Buckner's contemporaries included the likes of Steve Garvey, Ken Griffey, Eddie Murray, Pete Rose, Robin Yount, and Dave Winfield. And in the years Buckner was a Cub, he had a higher batting average than all of them.

 

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Comments

And it's total BS he was even blamed for that game anyway. At the time he made the error, the game was tied anyway. No chance the Mets don't finish it off at that point. Bob Stanley and Rich Gedman were the real goats, and no one says boo about them. What an awful catcher Rich Gedman was.

Exactly right, just like it's stupid that Bartman is blamed for the game named after him. I thought it was great that Buckner got the reception that he did and was glad that he was able to get a little closure after 20+ years.

Buckner is easily in my favorite Cubs list.

Mike and Mike were trying to make the comparison between BB and Bartman this morning on ESPN (which reminded me why I stopped listening a couple of years ago. I was just flipping channels. honest!). They said something along the lines of "Hardcore Cubs fans still won't forgive Bartman." Idiots. From what I see, hardcore cub fans never blamed Bartman after that fateful game. Just the casual fans who needed talking points did.

Who you calling casual, friend? I'm as die hard as they come and I still blame that motherfucker. You analysis is BULLSHIT.

So you're on the fence, Chad?

You're right. I think it's just that the press always saw that error as a perfect metaphor for the Red Sox' failures, so they hammered on it and hammered on it.

Yeah, the press can never just blame the team or a group of players or plays - it's always one guy as a scapegoat for a meltdown (see Bartman). I really like those ESPN shows "The Top 5 Reasons You Can't Blame ________" - they usually do a good job of showing that there is a great deal of suck and choke from a lot of people that went into those catostrophic collapses.

about time...day games are nice and all, but i'm ready for some end-of-the-day cubs baseball on TV.

btw...great bunch of articles posted lately, including this one.

It's absurd, I haven't seen a first pitch yet this year. I haven't seen more than a few innings. Between crap going on over the weekend, the opening day blackout (seriously, wtf?), and all the day games I've pretty much missed the entire first week.

In fact, I would support a shorter MLB schedule if it meant:
* Starting the season in a little bit warmer weather.
* More night games.
* No blackouts.

And tonight the game is on CSN+, so I don't even know if I get it. Last year Ft. Wayne Fios TV didn't have CSN+, but I think they do this year. I'm not getting my hopes up, though, I think there's a conspiracy against me to prevent me from watching my Cubbies.

Okay, I'm done bitching.

Now here's the way I understand this deal with providing CSN+. Since you're in the Cubs market (Ft. Wayne, Indiana I presume), I believe they are required to provide it to you. It shows up on my cable only on days when the Cubs or Sox are on CSN+. Any other day the channel doesn't exist.

As far as I know, games on WCIU are exempt from that, since it's not a cable channel.

Ok, so I went to look at the standings.
Notice a trend? Our pitching has been a real problem. Funny at face I thought we weren't hitting, but pitching seems to be a real issue. Looking at all the standings the common theme of 1st place teams is low runs against. We are very lucky to be over .500, this staff needs to get it straight. I thought bad weather schedules were suppose to help pitching?

The only "trend" bothering me is Ted Lilly, and Bobby Howry.

OF those RA stats, they are probably responsible for 10-14 of those.

The team pretty much should be 5-2 now. But, I expect that they'll get back some of the games grabbed from the jaws of victory
when the team's other two stars start hitting, and when Theriot sits more.

I think if Ted Lilly & Bob Howry had a bad week or even two weeks in July no one would think anything about it. Let's not panic yet.

When was the last time a Cubs team had an offense that could carry their pitching? I'm liking it so far cos I know our pitching is good and it will come around.

That block of code/table is definitely messing with the layout...

We probably just need to see the Runs Scored and Runs Against in order for you to make your point.

can you edit past posts?

Thanks for flagging that, lowitzki. Now all seems to be well.

Sorry, Bigz. I didn't know what else to do but delete the table.

Apologies.

 

I believe that Darrell Johnston was the BoSox manager at the time, and he was the true idiot in this scenario. All year long he had used another 1st baseman as a defensive replacement for Buckner, but for this critical moment he leaves the poor guy in, gimpy legs and all. Predictably the ball ate Buckner up, and Johnston never offered a credible answer for his decision - nice way to throw your own player under the bus.

John McNamara was the Bosox manager.

YIKES -- I read the heading and thought I was being censored.

if anyone is getting a free pass for 2003 it that stupid shortstop gonzalez i think,
he is the one who made the big error.

Gonzo error, Dusty sitting in the dugout while Prior labored, and Farnsworth serving up the back-breaking, 2-out, 3-run double to a dink-hitting Marlin (Mike Mordecai?) when the score was 4-3.

I'm sure Dusty thought he had no better option than Prior -- given what happened to Farnsworth, he was probably right.

Not to mention the poor pitch selection following the Bartman incident. As I recall, Prior had two strikes on Castillo and was trying to finish him off by blowing fastballs by him, which Castillo was barely getting a piece of him. For some reason, though Castillo was clearly barely staying alive, Prior or Miller decided to deviate from the string of fastballs, and Prior bounced a curveball to walk Castillo and let Pierre get to third. The inning devolved from there.

if anyone is getting a free pass for 2003 it that stupid shortstop gonzalez

Yep. It was a "tailor made" double-play ball.

It also didn't help that Dusty sat on his ass in the dugout after the Bartman play, when he should have gone out and calmed his pitcher down. And Prior lacked the mental toughness to ignore the play and just pitch.

We were never turning two on that play.

And they flatly turned him down.

"Not much about him has changed. Baker still drops Hank Aaron's name every few minutes, and says "big-time" at least once every sentence. He still walks through the clubhouse and calls his players "dude" and "homie." He still chomps on toothpicks and passes out unsolicited advice."

In case this isn't 3/44 ...
http://www.nwherald.com/baseball/story.php?storyid...

I'm personally glad to hear he's the same "O.G." as he used to be.

I think the moral to the Billy Buck and Bartman stories is that getting angrier at the guys who are involved in the mistake made in a game than the people who hound them and their family afterward is ridiculous. Bartman made the dumb mistake of reaching for that ball, just like a bunch of other people in the stands, and Buckner's body failed him on the ground ball, but it was malicious to hound these guys.

After Floyd's hot start he's now on the DL: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3338368

Seeya back sometime in June.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb...

big-time prospect for the Braves....

I blame Bartman more than Gonzalez. :P

If Alou makes that catch, Gonzo doesn't have to rush to try to turn two and he doesn't make that error. :P :P

Well according to KJK in an above post, you and are are only casual fans who are looking for talking points.

Looks like I can retire my tagline.

"Cubs recall Marshall, send Pignatiello down
April 9, 2008 Recommend
FROM SUN-TIMES STAFF REPORTS
The Cubs recalled Sean Marshall from Class AAA and assigned Carmen Pignatiello.

Marshall becomes the Cubs' only left-handed reliever."

What a dumb line. He becomes the Cubs' only left-handed reliever? He replaced a left handed reliever.

Cotts can't be too happy right now.

After the Bartman thing, people would always ask me what I thought, while telling me that it wasn't Bartman's fault the Cubs lost.

I agree. It was not Bartman's fault. HOWEVER, that incident changed the complexion of the inning, and even Bartman's staunchest defenders can't deny that.

i think non-cubs fans loved it and followed it more than cubs fans.

bartman right or bartman wrong most cubs fans i ran into found it stupid/unfortunate/etc. but generally just in passing.

many other team's fans jumped on it as if bartman ran onto the field and took alou's knees out with a baton.

Z, prior, wood...couldn't get it done.

agonz plays a full season with hardly an error and makes the error of his career...

i also blame dusty for not going to a starter out of the pen in game 7
instead we had dave veres i think in there while marlins manager
used josh beckett,needless to say dusty was once again out managed.

what starter?

wood + farns (who was an ace pen guy in 03) gave up all the runs in the game.

veres+crew pitched like 2ip for 0er.

what other move should have been made? bringing in a 110 pitch Z to pitch for farns...who was one of the team's best pen men?

It's what Hank Aaron would have done.

since i think dempster is gonna win 15 games this year
here is my prediction 6.1 innings 3 earned runs i see
a 5 to 4 game .
hopefully my prediction is a little closer than the
ted lilly fan club

Recent comments

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  • "trout's one of the best, and at this point should probably win over donaldson (and should have more MVPs in the past, too), but the defensive aspect of valuing WAR still needs more tweaking...imo."

    that's from my 1st post. there's no suck involved in that. maybe with a few less posts about bullshit that point would have jumped out more.

    crunch 29 min 54 sec ago view
  • crunch - you do know that, taking defense out of the equation, Trout has led the AL in wRC+ each of those years, right?

    And, if you want to complain about position adjustment (which would be serious #crunchsplaining), he's been in the top 3 in the AL in WC (not park/league/position adjusted). And the only players ahead of him (if there were any players ahead of him) in any of those years have been DHs or 1B that play lousy defense.

    But sure - Trout sucks (or at least isn't as good as WAR says). Because it factors in defense and position.

    big_lowitzki 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • early tim tebow stuff rolling in...

    ran a 6.7 60yd (above average)...shagging flies in RF and showed off a rather impressive arm a few times, but average-at best on most of his throws...hit a few over the fence (both fields), fouled or weak contact a few...he's got a touch of power

    it'll be interesting to see who bites on this project, if anyone. he probably projected himself out of RF and into LF/1st because of his arm, but unless he can make that power work on a steady basis it'll be hard for him to play himself up anyone's system.

    crunch 2 hours 19 min ago view
  • LHP Clayton Richard (released by the Cubs earlier this month) is pitching very well as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and could be a good candidate to get traded to a contender looking for a veteran SP before tomorrow night's post-season roster eligibility deadline.

    Because they released him, the Cubs are paying most of Richard's 2016 salary (the Cubs are on the hooks for $2M, minus the pro-rated portion of the MLB minimum salary that is paid by the Padres).

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 6 min ago view
  • it is honestly awesome (for real) that anyone would even have a strong opinion on AZL playoffs. i guess if you invest enough time watching it, you want to see a fair/just playoff structure.

    plus, the kids deserve it.

    crunch 4 hours 7 min ago view
  • The AZL team with the best record over the course of the full 2016 AZL season and the only AZL team to play .600 ball (the AZL Dodgers) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, and the AZL East Division team with the best record over the course of the full season (the AZL Athletics) did not qualify for the AZL playoffs, either. 

    That's because of the ridiculous "split season" schedule most of the minor leagues now play, a stupid system that rewards mediocrity at the expense of the worthy. 

    Arizona Phil 4 hours 14 min ago view
  • Despite good movement on his fastball, I think location kept him from getting Ks. Left some pitches up and away that got hammered up and away. Then of course Travis Wood gave up the 2-run double in the 7th, but both runs counted against Arrieta.

    Charlie 4 hours 50 min ago view
  • "i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date."

    This level of discourse is #charming.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 4 hours 51 min ago view
  • I would be having this discussion with anyone who (a) blathered on ad nauseum about the topic. (See, "Olt, Mike, not given an opportunity") or (b) responded directly to what I posted (which you did).

    Have a nice day.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 4 hours 53 min ago view
  • what would you do without me? aside from having your posting content here cut by 75%+?

    i'm gonna make you my main squeeze one day, bro. save the date.

    crunch 4 hours 57 min ago view
  • In this instance, yes, I care more about the result of this big thing that isn't really a big thing.

    #crunchsplaining

    #willlistentojeffsullivanmorethanyou

    #blessyourheart

    #hitler

    #tcrmartyr

    #billyhamiltonwar

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 4 hours 57 min ago view
  • Two things:

    Fangraphs WAR #s include baserunning and Hamilton is elite at that. He leads in SBs with the 54 and and has an 87% rate which is really good. I'm sure once he gets on base he's able to take the extra base quite often too. Both those things will up his overall WAR value.

    The differences between BR and FG WAR is pretty well documented online and thus If there are discrepancies it's fairly easy to figure out why. It's fairly well accepted that BR WAR is fine as a snapshot but FG is better at predicting future value.

    johann 5 hours 1 min ago view
  • i have no doubt at all you quit reading at that point. you're very enamored with outcomes without caring what it takes to get there.

    the fact it's exploitable, especially without someone to cover the running game for him, as well it's evolution in how people are testing possible exploits is interesting to some people...to me...i'm some people...hurrah.

    some people want to check the boxscore to see who won, some want to know how it went down.

    crunch 5 hours 14 min ago view
  • I read it as him saying it's not really that much of a concern and that the one time it really cost Lester, vs. K.C., was an anomaly.

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 5 hours 19 min ago view
  • if jeff says it, it's cool...when i say it, it's straight from the mouth of hitler.

    aside from the lack of jeff touching on the insane leads runners take and lester's inability to throw if he's fielding, this is a lot of what i've said about the issue.

    exploitable, needs his own personal catcher to control his shortcomings, relies on his ability to get outs along with his personal catcher keeping runners in check before things become further exploited...

    crunch 5 hours 21 min ago view
  • That would be Rice Krispy Treat

    The E-Man 6 hours 40 min ago view