He had more hits — 2,715 — than either Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams.
But Bill Buckner also blew one important play, and was smart enough to know what that meant.
“The headline on my obituary will say I missed a ground ball in Game 6,” Buckner once said. “A little note at the end will say, ‘He was a pretty good player.’”
He got that right, the first part anyway. The obituaries for Buckner, who died on Monday, did try not to let his 22 stand-out seasons be eclipsed by one bobbled ball.
“A MIXED LEGACY,” read the headline in Tuesday’s Sun-Times. “’80 NL batting champ with Cubs committed big error in ’86 Series.’’
“2,715 Hits, Eclipsed by One Miss” is how the New York Times put it.
They tried, but they failed. Because Bill Buckner was a goat, the biggest goat in baseball for the past three decades. If the term doesn’t pluck a heartstring, then you’ve forgotten your “Peanuts.”
“If I catch it, we’ll win the championship, and I’ll be the hero,” Charlie Brown says to himself, looking up, glove at the ready, as the baseball flies in his direction. “If I miss it, I’ll be the goat!”
Spoiler alert: Charlie Brown misses it.
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