Bill Buckner

Why was Red Sox great Bill Buckner trending on Twitter Friday night?

Why was Red Sox great Bill Buckner trending on Twitter Friday night?

R.I.P. Bill Buckner. Ten months later.

Why was the former Red Sox first baseman, who died on May 27, 2019, trending on Twitter Friday night?

It can apparently be traced to New York Times political writer Maggie Haberman on Friday afternoon tweeting a link to Buckner's obit from ESPN.com from the day he died of complications from Lewy body dementia at 69.

Haberman has 1.2 million Twitter followers and it appears some of them thought this was new news.

Former Boston Globe columnist and current MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle tweeted a Buckner tribute a few hours after Haberman's tweet. 

R.I.P Bill Bucker tweets followed well into Friday night, along with plenty informing the tweeter that Buckner had passed away months earlier. 

Haberman appeared to acknowledge her odd timing in a follow-up tweet.

No matter. As Barnicle points out, Buckner ought not to be remembered for the error that was the first line in his obit, but as a terrific hitter (2,715 hits, .289 career batting average, National League-leading .324 in 1980) in a 22-year major league career with five teams (Dodgers, Cubs, two stints with the Red Sox, Angels and Royals). 

And really, anytime is a good time to look back at that. 
 

Mookie Wilson: Buckner's legacy 'should not be defined by one play'

Mookie Wilson: Buckner's legacy 'should not be defined by one play'

Former Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner died on Monday at age 69 after a battle with Lewy Body Dementia. In the aftermath of his death, former New York Mets centerfielder Mookie Wilson took some time to honor Buckner in an official statement he released.

“I was saddened to hear about Bill’s death," Wilson said, per Mike Vacarro of The New York Post. "We had developed a friendship that lasted well over 30 years. I felt badly for some of the things he went through. Bill was a great, great baseball player whose legacy should not be defined by one play.”

Of course, the one play that Wilson is referencing is the grounder that dribbled through Buckner's legs during the 1986 World Series. Wilson hit the fateful ball that went by Buckner's and helped lead the Mets to a come-from-behind to win a series they had trailed 3-2.

As Wilson said, that play doesn't define Buckner's career. Buckner played 22 seasons with a .289 average, 174 homers, and one appearance in the All-Star Game. But at times, his solid performance was overshadowed by the one mishap, although it shouldn't have been.

Buckner was a good sport about the mistake over the course of the years. Ultimately, Buckner's unwarranted villain status ended in 2004 after the Red Sox won the World Series. That healed a long-open wound in the Boston baseball community and brought about a new appreciation for Buckner. He actually threw out the first pitch for the team's home opener after they took home the title in 2007.

This was a decent gesture by Wilson to honor Buckner and remind everyone just how good of a player Buckner was. Hopefully, his overall legacy will continue to outshine the one blunder.

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Bill Buckner, Red Sox legend, dies at age 69

bill_buckner.jpg
AP Images

Bill Buckner, Red Sox legend, dies at age 69

Bill Buckner's legacy extends far beyond one fielding mishap.

The former Boston Red Sox first baseman and veteran of 22 MLB seasons died Monday at age 69, his family confirmed in a statement.

"After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family," the statement read, via ESPN.com. "Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Buckner's three-plus seasons with the Red Sox were marked by his fielding error on a Mookie Wilson ground ball in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that allowed the New York Mets to walk off with a 6-5 victory. The Mets won the title in Game 7, securing Buckner's place as a scapegoat in Boston.

But the Red Sox vindicated Buckner in 2004, ending an 86-year title drought with their first World Series championship since 1918. The lifting of Boston's "curse" allowed Sox fans to see Buckner for who he really was: a hard-working and very talented first baseman who posted a lifetime .289 batting average with 2,715 career hits and 1,208 RBIs.

Buckner also owned his infamous mistake, making a cameo on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to riff with Larry David over the error.

The Northern California native counted Bobby Valentine among his good friends -- both were drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968 -- and the former Red Sox manager offered a touching tribute to Buckner on social media Monday.

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