Pivotal World Series Plays
Buckner's Boo Boo
1986 World Series Game Six: Boston Red Sox @ New York Mets
The Red Sox led the Series three games to two when the sixth game went into extra innings tied at three.
Dave Henderson led off the top of the tenth with a long home run down the LF line off Rick Aguilera. Two outs later, Wade Boggs doubled and scored an insurance run on Marty Barrett's single.
Many reporters, including NBC-TV's Bob Costas, started moving toward the visiting clubhouse where champagne - loaned to the Red Sox by the Mets - was being iced. Costas watched the bottom of the 9th on TV from there.

L-R: Dave Henderson, Rick Aguilera, Wade Boggs, Marty Barrett
Right-hander Calvin Schiraldi, an ex-Met, went to the mound for his third inning with the task of nailing down Boston's first World Series triumph since 1918. Reporters were surprised to see Bill Buckner head back out to 1B. One of Boston's best hitters down the stretch, Bill was playing with a severely injured Achilles, an ankle injury that had plagued him since 1975. Red Sox manager John McNamara would be criticized for not bringing in Dave Stapleton to play first in the bottom of the 10th. Stapleton, a far better and much healthier defender than Buckner, had relieved Bill in all seven of the Red Sox postseason wins.
When Wally Backman and Keith Hernandez both flied out, Red Sox fans could hardly contain their excitement. One out to go!
For a brief moment, the Shea Stadium scoreboard flashed the words "Congratulations, Red Sox!"
"Everybody sitting very quietly in that New York Mets dugout," said Mets radio announcer Bob Murphy, "hoping against hope that something will start to happen."
But "the game is never out or over until the last man is out."

L-R: Calvin Schiraldi, John McNamara, Wally Backman, Keith Hernandez
Gary Carter kept the Mets slim hopes alive with a single to LF. Kevin Mitchell hit for Schiraldi and lined a single to CF, Carter stopping at second.
Mitchell was actually at his locker in the dressing room when the call came to pinch hit. Hernandez had joined him after making the second out of the inning. Keith recalled, "Hell, when I think back Kevin was as big a story that night as anybody. Run back to the dugout, grab a bat, grab his helmet and boom, get a hit."
3B Ray Knight quickly fell into an 0-2 hole. One strike to go! Schiraldi threw a fastball that tailed in toward the batter's hands. Knight got just enough of the good part of the bat on the ball to muscle it into shallow CF for a hit, scoring Carter and sending Mitchell to third, Boston manager John McNamara lifted Schiraldi in favor of Bob Stanley, who led the Sox in saves with 16.
By this time, Hernandez, drinking a beer, was in manager Davey Johnson's office with Mets scout Darrell Johnson (a former Red Sox manager) and PR man Jay Horwitz, watching on TV. "Where we are is right underneath the box seats on the first-base side. And if Shea was ever put to a test structurally, that was the time. We could feel the place shaking, like an earthquake. Little did we know we hadn't heard, or felt, anything yet."
The first batter Stanley faced was CF Mookie Wilson. Mookie worked the count to two-and-two. One strike to go again! He fouled off the next two pitches to stay alive. Stanley tried to come inside on the next delivery but came too far inside. As Wilson jumped out of the way, the ball got past C Rich Gedman and went to the backstop. Mitchell raced home with the tying run while Knight headed to second.
Hernandez: "Then came the wild pitch from Bob Stanley to Mookie [Wilson] that was like a gift from God. And just like that, the game was tied. The three of us in Davey's office are jumping up and down like we're on the pitcher's mound and we've just won the World Series, even though all we've done is tie the game.
"Then I made Darrell sit back down in his chair and I sat down in mine, and I told Jay to go back to where he was standing next to Davey's desk. I couldn’t speak for the rest of them, but by now I was convinced there were hits in my chair."
Wilson fouled off two more pitches. Then the fateful tenth pitch of the at-bat produced the most famous dribbler in World Series history. Mookie swung hard but, to quote TV announcer Vin Scully, hit "a little roller up along first ... behind the bag ... it gets by Buckner, and the Mets win it!" 1B Bill Buckner, known as one of the best-fielding first sackers in the game, let the ball go through his legs into short right field. Knight raced around third and leapt on the plate with the winning run.
The scoreboard now read, "WE WIN!!"
Hernandez: "When I was with the Cardinals, Mookie Wilson was someone on the Mets we admired and respected, because even when the Mets were lousy, even when they were 20 games out, he was playing his ass off. And I've said this for over 30 years and will say it again: If anybody else on our team had hit that ball to Buckner, I believe we would have gone to extra innings, and who knows what happens? But it was Mookie, and he busted it out of the blocks. And I will always believe that he put the pressure on Bill Buckner because of his hustle. It looked like a routine ball when he hit it. But he made it something else. But that was who he was."

Bill Buckner lets Mookie Wilson's dribbler go through his legs.
Buckner told the press afterward: "My legs didn't have any effect. I felt good out there. It just shows you anything can happen. I feel lousy. Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a different story. We don't have a day or two to forget about it. You can't get down about it. ...
"I hate to say I missed a ground ball. I did concentrate on that ball. I saw it well. It bounced and bounced and then it didn't bounce. It just skipped. I can't remember the last time I missed a ball like that, but I'll remember that one. ...
"It was a slow roller with a lot of spin on it. I thought I watched it good. I was playing deeply Than I normally do because I didn't want it to get through the infield. ...
"If Mookie didn't run so fast I'd get down on a knee to block it. It bounced and bounced And then skidded right under my glove. I was waiting for it to bounce. It didn't."
On October 6, 19 days before Game 6, Buckner was interviewed by a reporter for a Boston TV station about the pressures of postseason play. Bill explained his worst-case scenario. "The dreams are that you're gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you're gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate."

Mets mob Mookie.
Writers from around the country competed to see who could best describe another Red Sox tragedy.
"I'm sitting here and I still don't believe it." That's the way sportswriter Bus Saidt started his story of the game for the Trenton Times.
Ray Sons, Chicago Sun-Times: "Bill Buckner has just limped off the field, carrying the weight of the world on his back. He can ice those aching ankles all night so he can play in Game Seven of the World Series tonight, but there isn't enough ice to freeze the pain in his heart."
Kevin Modesti, L.A. Daily News: "If the Red Sox couldn't win their first World Series in 68 years after leading ... by two runs ... with two out ... and the bases empty in the bottom of the 10th inning of Saturday's sixth game, well, maybe it's impossible after all."
Jayson Stark, Philadelphia Inquirer: "It was enough to make you believe there are curses that haunt this team. It was enough to make you believe that the Mets are on some highway toward destiny."
In Game 7, the Red Sox built a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. But the Mets bats came to life and scored eight runs over the next three innings for an 8-5 Series-clinching victory.
Red Sox fans would have to wait until 2004 to finally win the World Series and end the "Curse of the Bambino" jinx.
Buckner played part of 1987 with the Red Sox before being released. He played a year and a half with California and two years with Kansas City before returning to the Red Sox at age 40 in 1990. "Opening Day I got a great ovation," Bill recalled. "Fans in Boston are really good. They really are. They liked me and they were always good to me, and I think they just got caught up in the media. Overall, they were good. That was probably why tears came to my eyes, and it was pretty emotional."
Buckner eventually was able to forgive himself. "I have come to the understandng that it is here to stay, so I try to look at it in a positive way. Everybody still remembers me. They say, 'Yeah, he was the guy that made the error, but he was a pretty good player.' So I guess that is a positive about it."