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Baseball BLUNDER
Kostya Kennedy
August 27, 2001
Over RATED Bill Buckner Fifteen years after Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the image of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner (right) allowing Mookie Wilson's squibber to dribble through his legs as the New York Mets' Ray Knight ran home with the winning run has not faded. Buckner moved to Idaho to escape the ill will that dogged him in Massachusetts, and sports scribes describe monumental miscues as "pulling a Buckner." In fact, that misplay obscured what really sunk the Sox, and it took pitcher Bob Stanley off the hook. Boston, up three games to two, led 5-3 with New York batting in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs and no one on, reliever Calvin Schiraldi gave up three singles to make the score 5-4, with runners on first and third. Stanley came in to face Wilson and, after getting two strikes on him, threw a wild pitch. That let the tying run score and put Knight on second. Remember, too, that no one would be talking about Buckner's error if the Red Sox had won Game 7, in which they held a three-run lead. Anyone looking for a goat in that pivotal Game 6 should be told, "Stanley, I presume."
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August 27, 2001

Baseball Blunder

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Over RATED
Bill Buckner
Fifteen years after Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the image of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner (right) allowing Mookie Wilson's squibber to dribble through his legs as the New York Mets' Ray Knight ran home with the winning run has not faded. Buckner moved to Idaho to escape the ill will that dogged him in Massachusetts, and sports scribes describe monumental miscues as "pulling a Buckner." In fact, that misplay obscured what really sunk the Sox, and it took pitcher Bob Stanley off the hook. Boston, up three games to two, led 5-3 with New York batting in the bottom of the 10th. With two outs and no one on, reliever Calvin Schiraldi gave up three singles to make the score 5-4, with runners on first and third. Stanley came in to face Wilson and, after getting two strikes on him, threw a wild pitch. That let the tying run score and put Knight on second. Remember, too, that no one would be talking about Buckner's error if the Red Sox had won Game 7, in which they held a three-run lead. Anyone looking for a goat in that pivotal Game 6 should be told, " Stanley, I presume."

Under RATED
Carlton Fisk
The Red Sox also produced an enduring image in the 1975 World Series—that of catcher Carlton Fisk frantically waving his game-winning home run into fair territory as Boston beat the Cincinnati Reds in Game 6. Fisk's blast tied the Series at three games apiece, but it might have won the Series if he hadn't made an error in Game 3. That game was tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th when the Reds' Cesar Geronimo led off with a single. Ed Armbrister followed by laying down a bunt and then colliding with Fisk as Fisk hurried out to field the ball and try to get Geronimo at second. After the collision Fisk still had time to at least get Armbrister at first. Instead, he threw the ball into centerfield, allowing Geronimo to go to third and Armbrister to second. At that point even a medium fly ball was likely to score the speedy Geronimo, so Boston's outfield was forced to play extremely shallow. With one out and the bases loaded, Joe Morgan's fly ball over the head of centerfielder Fred Lynn won the game. The Red Sox railed at umpire Larry Barnett for not calling interference on Armbrister—and perhaps Barnett should have—but had Fisk kept his head in Game 3, his Game 6 heroics might have made Boston the champions.

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