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10 Scapegoats Still in the Crosshairs


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Bill Buckner
Buckner posing on July 23, 1985, before that fateful day in the 1986 Series. © Bettmann/CORBIS
Buckner posing on July 23, 1985, before that fateful day in the 1986 Series. © Bettmann/CORBIS

In the world of sports, no scapegoat is as infamous as Bill Buckner, the Boston Red Sox first baseman who booted a routine ground ball that cost the Red Sox their first title since 1918. Truthfully, it wasn't all Buckner's fault. Red Sox manager John McNamara should have benched Buckner, who was hobbled by injuries, late in the game as he had done previously. Moreover, Red Sox pitcher Bob Stanley should have shouldered most of the blame.

During Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, the Sox were leading the New York Mets three games to two. The game at New York's Shea Stadium went into extra innings. By the bottom of the 10th, the Mets were toast. The Sox were up 5 to 3 with two outs and no one on base. Then things unraveled horribly for the Red Sox. Three consecutive Met singles narrowed the gap to 5 to 4. With runners on first and third, Stanley came into the game to pitch to Mookie Wilson. Stanley pitched a wild one, allowing the tying run to score. Wilson later bounded a dribbler to Buckner. The ball went under Buckner's injury-riddled legs, allowing the winning run to score. The Mets won the game, and ultimately the Series [sources: Time, Barra].


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