Longtime MLB first baseman Bill Buckner, who appeared in a pair of World Series in a career that spanned two decades, has passed away. He was 69 years old.
Buckner is best known for his misplay of a ground ball in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that allowed the winning run to score. The New York Mets beat Buckner's Boston Red Sox that night and would go on to win the series in seven games.
However, Buckner was an accomplished player, a former batting champion and All-Star, who finished with a lifetime batting average of .289. More importantly, he handled the aftermath of his heartbreaking gaffe with a grace that few could have matched.
According to ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, Buckner passed away this morning after a battle with Lewy Body Dementia, the second-most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's.
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Buckner's former Los Angeles Dodger teammate Bobby Valentine first hinted at news of his death earlier today in a series of tweets. Buckner and Valentine played together for two seasons in the early 1970s.
"As I clear my head and hold back the tears I know I will always remember Billy Buck as a great hitter and a better friend. He deserved better. Thank god for his family. I ll miss u Buck!" Valentine wrote.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Buckner's family and friends during this difficult time.