Chicago Cubs: Baseball legend Bill Buckner leaves legacy behind

Chicago Cubs (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs family lost a legend on Monday with the passing of Bill Buckner.

On Monday evening, the Major League Baseball world received some very sad news when it learned that former Chicago Cubs star Bill Buckner had passed away at the age of 69.

Buckner had been battling Lewy Body Dementia, which he attacked with the same tenacity, fighting spirit, and grit with which he played the game we love.

Remarkably, Buckner’s 22 seasons in the big leagues spanned four decades and five teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels, and the Kansas City Royals.

Sadly many news reports will ignorantly only focus on the moment for which many fans, particularly the casual ones, remember Buckner. Obviously, I’m referring to his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets.

Aside from the fact that the blame for the Red Sox blowing that series could have been assigned to any number of players/decisions, reducing Buckner’s career to that play is an incredible injustice.

Buckner was so much more than that. Off the field, he handled the situation with a class and grace often absent in his detractors. He knew what truly mattered in life and chose to focus his energy on those things. He even was self-deprecating enough to poke fun at the incident on an episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

On the field, Buckner was simply a pure hitter. He fought through chronic knee problems to finish his career as a .289 hitter and a total of 2,715 hits!  Of those, 1,136 came during his eight seasons with the Cubs along with 516 RBI.

To further underscore his hitting prowess, consider this — in his 22-year career, he never struck out three times in a game and only struck out 4.5 percent of his plate appearances.

As Jayson Stark highlighted yesterday, during the 10-year stretch from 1972-82, there were few better than Buckner, as only Rod Carew, Al Oliver, Pete Rose, and Steve Garvey has a higher batting average, with the five players being the only one at to hit .300 or better during that time.

dark. Next. Cubs in a possible World Series preview?

Whether it was his commitment to religion, his incredible hitting prowess, or his affable way of handling an unfortunate situation with an unparalleled dignity, most fans will not remember him for who he truly was — but not this fan. RIP Mr. Buckner.