April 9, 2008

Red Sox Fans Gave Buckner A Huge Ovation At City Hall Parade Two Days After 1986 WS Loss

Following up on this morning's post -- that every single Boston sportswriter neglected to mention that Bill Buckner had received a standing ovation at Opening Day at Fenway in April 1987 -- here's an article from Sports Illustrated showing that Boston fans had forgiven Buckner two days after the Red Sox had lost the World Series, and four days after his Game 6 error:

November 10, 1986
The Hub Hails Its Hobbling Hero
By Peter Gammons

He awakened on the morning after the morning after, knowing that he had two more rivers to cross. First, there was a parade in downtown Boston. ... As he started to get out of bed, he heard some mention of the Mets' parade on the radio. "More than two and a half million people honored the world champions yesterday in New York," said the announcer, "and the parade finished with the Mets' team bus going through Bill Buckner's legs."

"Here I just experienced the best year of my life with a team, and I feel rotten," Bill Buckner said to his wife, Jody, as they drove down Route 93 toward Boston last Wednesday morning. "This whole city hates me. Is this what I'm going to be remembered for? Is this what I've killed myself for all these years? Is a whole season ruined because of a bad hop? I've got to go through the humiliation of this parade, partly because I know I don't deserve it. Oh well, there'll only be two or three players and about 50 people who'll show up to boo us." ...

It was a crystal-clear autumn morning ... when the truck neared Copley Square, he saw that the street was lined with faces and banners as far as he could see. Buckner had asked not to speak at the rally at City Hall Plaza, and so he stood at the end of the stage. But when he heard the ringing one-minute ovation that followed his name, Buckner stepped forward and thanked the crowd.

"That was the most incredible experience of my career," he said to Jody ...
Read the entire article here.

Thanks to reader Jake of All Trades for tipping me off to the SI piece with his comment in the earlier post.


Josh Wilker said...

Great find. You're doing an excellent job of digging up the real story underneath all the noise.

Benjamin said...

At the end of the day, though, it remains newsworthy that Buckner got a standing ovation yesterday: 1) ownership must have thought so, because otherwise they wouldn't have brought him in; and 2) regardless of what the initial fan reaction may have been, CHB and other media trolls succeeded in ginning up lots of fan hatred over subsequent years.

This has been some pretty craptacular reporting, but it's also wrong to overstate the relevance of the original events to folks' recent feelings. (That goes for Buckner too.)