I remember it like it was yesterday. I can repeat it verbatim. The emotions that I was feeling while I was sitting in the den of my parents house watching it happen. The Good Ol’ Days.
If you lived through that series, you know that Buckner was not the only Boston player at fault for the team’s historic meltdown. Yes, that dribbler in between his legs is just the most famous and, ultimately, the only one that people remember after all these years.
Another thing that’s often forgotten is that Buckner’s error, and the Red Sox momentous implosion that October evening, didn’t decide the World Series. First off, even if the ball didn’t get past Buckner, would he have beaten Mookie to the bag? I doubt it. The game was also tied on the wild pitch prior to that play which at best would have gotten Boston out of the inning. To top it all off it was only Game 6, not Game 7. The Sox still had another chance, two nights later0 to become Champions. But they couldn’t overcome the Mets that night either.
The fabled ball hit to Buckner down the first base side took two hops and then simply rolled beneath his glove. It wasn’t a bad hop or a difficult play. It was a rather routine ground ball. Buckner simply made a devastating miscue.
On October 6, 1986 (12 days before game 6), Buckner was interviewed by WBZ-TV’s Don Shane about the pressures of postseason play. In a quote that recently appeared in ESPN’s Steve Bartman documentary Catching Hell, Buckner eerily explains his worst case scenario:
“The dreams are that you’re gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you’re gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate.”
“Everybody sitting very quietly in that New York Mets dugout,” said Mets radio announcer Bob Murphy, “hoping against hope that something will start to happen.” and then one thing led to another to get to THE moment………………”Behind the bag. It Get’s through Buckner, here Come’s Knight and the Mets Win it!”