Former All-Star Bill Buckner dies at 69

Jake Elman
Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House
Jerry Herman listens to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama as the president and First Lady Michelle Obama host the 2010 Kennedy Center Honorees at a reception in the East Room of the White House on December 5, 2010. The Tony-award winning composer died on December 26, 2019, at the age of 88. File Pool Photo by Gary Fabiano/UPI

May 27 (UPI) -- Former Major League Baseball All-Star Bill Buckner, the longtime veteran most remembered for a crucial error in the 1986 World Series, died Monday.

Buckner was battling Lewy Body Dementia. He was 69.


"Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life," Buckner's family said in a statement. "Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Buckner played 22 seasons with five teams from 1969 to 1990. He spent his first eight seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers before joining the Chicago Cubs in 1977.

RELATED Giants call up Carl Yastrzemski's grandson

Buckner became a star in Chicago. He led the NL in hitting in 1980 and was an All-Star a year later.

The Red Sox traded for Buckner in 1984. He was a key part of the 1986 team that was one out away from the team's first World Series win since 1918.

After the Mets rallied down 5-3 in the 10th inning, Mets star Mookie Wilson grounded a slow roller up the first base line. The ball went through Buckner's legs and allowed Ray Knight to score the winning run.

Boston lost Game 7 and didn't return to the World Series until 2004. Buckner retired midway through the 1990 season and finished his career with 2,715 hits, 174 home runs, and 1,208 RBIs.

Buckner returned to Fenway Park in 2008, only months after the Red Sox won the World Series for the second time in four years. He was greeted by a standing ovation that nearly lasted two minutes before he threw the ceremonial first pitch, a strike to former teammate Dwight Evans.

"I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston, per se, but I would have to say in my heart I had to forgive the media," Buckner said. "For what they put me and my family through."

RELATED Bill Buckner: Ex-teammates mourn loss of former MLB All-Star

RELATED Notable deaths of 2019

Latest Headlines