Properly Remembering Bill Buckner (died May 27, 2019)
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. (1 Peter 5:7)
On May 27, 2019, Bill Buckner died. Buckner was a great baseball player. He played in the major leagues for 21 years. He was the National League batting champion in 1980 and an All-Star in 1981. He accumulated over 2,700 hits, 174 home runs, and a cumulative batting average of .289. Yet, sadly, for the last 33 years, when any baseball fan hears the name Bill Buckner, we remember Mookie Wilson’s hit toward first base, and Bill Buckner not getting his glove down in time. The ball went between his legs and out into outfield. His team, the Red Sox, lost the game and went on to lose the 1986 World Series. Even on the day Bill Buckner died, the first thing mentioned was his fielding error.
I’ve empathized with Buckner since that fateful day in 1986. A less-confident man would have crumbled. Many Red Sox’s fans never forgave him, yet, he played well for another three seasons. Then, in retirement, everywhere Buckner went, people mentioned his error. Twenty-one years of all-star productivity and the rest of his life was defined by that few seconds. No one should ever be defined in such a way.
After his long baseball career ended, he invested in real estate, was part-owner of a car dealership and later, got back into baseball as a minor league baseball manager. Bill was also blessed with a loving wife and two daughters, and a son. Sadly, in the last few years he battled Lewy Body Dementia, which ultimately took his life. Even in death, he was blessed to have the love of his family around him.
Any life, including Bill Buckner’s, should include one’s overall achievements, not just in one’s chosen career, but also in the way they loved their family and cared for others. The next time you hear the name Bill Buckner, don’t just think about his error, but about his example of overcoming adversity, and living life with optimism. Likewise, do not let your life’s errors define you. You are a child of God. You are worthy and blessed. No error can take away your worth. Bostonians could not take it away from Bill Buckner, and no one should be able to take it away from you either.