Bill Buckner Needed Boise to Heal
Bill Buckner died Monday Memorial Day 2019 at the age of 69. He died after a battle with Lewy body dementia. He died in Boise his adopted home for the past quarter of a century, the city that help him heal.
Sometimes things happen that try and define our lives. For Bill Buckner it was a slow grounder to first base that passed between his legs that threatened to become his legacy.
The year was 1986 and the stage was the World Series. Buckner was playing for the Boston Redsox when a slow grounder to first base that would have ended the game and handed the World Series to Boston, rolled under Buckner's glove and allowed the NY Mets to go on and win game 6 and then game 7 for a World Series Title.
Buckner was the target of ridicule, hate mail even death threats.
Buckner played in 2,517 major league games during a career from 1969 to 1990. He played for five teams and was an All-Star in 1981 and the National League batting champion in 1980.
Few people remember those statistics following his 1986 World Series error.
So Buckner moved west to Boise where he quickly became part of the community. He coached for the Boise Hawks, he held annual youth baseball camps, he supported Boise State football and basketball and like the rest of us who call Boise home, he enjoyed the foothills, the river and simply embraced the lifestyle of Idaho.
It took a while but Buckner was finally strong enough emotionally to return to Boston's Fenway Park in 2008 to throw out the first pitch of the Redsox season opener and the unveiling of the 2007 World Series Championship banner.
Buckner's daughter was a photographer and captured the moment on tape as her dad entered the stadium to a standing ovation.
Finally, Buckner received the warm welcome he experienced in Boise but this wasn't Boise, it was Fenway Park and it was the game to which he dedicated his life.
Bill Buckner 1949-2019, gone too soon at 69.