h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Bill Buckner

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

Buckner - 1973 BackBuckner - 1973 Front

While this card doesn’t exactly have a zany tale on the back, it does serve as a Homer-esque prologue to what will become an enigmatic career.

Buckner, from a young age, was always adept at putting the ball in play. Through just three minor league seasons, he posted a .328 AVG, but just a .345 OBP. As this 1973 Topps Card suggests, Buckner wowed the team in spring training, earning full time duties at just 21-years-old.

Twenty-two years later, he finished his career with a lifetime average of .289. Sure, he didn’t really take any walks and wasn’t Hall of Fame valuable, but he did finish with 2,715 hits. That is more than Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Tim Raines, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Frank Thomas, Jim Rice, Barry Larkin and the majority of players who ever made it to the show.

Aside from the above, he is remembered for 1986, which was, in many ways, the beginning of the end of his career. In 1986, he posted the lowest batting average since an injury-riddled 1975 campaign. In the years that followed, he never got back to that .300-hitting plateau, ending his career in 1990 with, oddly enough, the Boston Red Sox.

Ignore those last four seasons though and you have a perfect story. Young kid breaks Spring Training as a 21-year-old, goes on to have 14 years of playing above average baseball and gobbles up base hits. Whatever happened after that wouldn’t mean much to the kid pictured above faux-ly leaning over to field a grounder.

Also, there’s this, presumably given his age, Bill grew up as a New York Giants fan…

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4 responses to this post.

  1. I never knew buckner had so many hits in his career. There is a kid in Arizona i believe (or maybe he was traded to an AL Central team) with the same name. Is he related to this Buckner by any chance?

    Reply

  2. Posted by Albert Lang on September 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Sorry for the delay in responding – was on vacation.

    Yeah Buckner had a ton of hits, although he only has more than Williams because of WWII.

    You are referring to Billy Buckner who was a second round draft pick in 2004 for Kansas City. He played part of three seasons for the Diamondbacks and was traded to Detroit for Dontrell Willis.

    According to wikipedia, Billy is no relation to Bill.

    Reply

  3. […] the next two to take the series 4-3 and then on to the World Series and the ball that went through Buckner’s […]

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  4. […] But it’s just a footnote, because what a career Gaetti amassed. When it was all said and done, he appeared in the 43rd most career games (2507) in baseball history – just behind Bill Buckner. […]

    Reply

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