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].
Author's Note: 10 Scapegoats Still in the Crosshairs
Like everyone else, I play the blame game. When I hit the golf ball into the water, I blame the golfing gods. Most of the time I blame myself, but never the devil, and sometimes God. As for Pandora, I have a cat named Pandora, and for 14 years, I've never blamed her for anything.
- Barra, Allen. "Exonerating Bill Buckner." Salon. Oct. 25, 2011. (April 14, 2013) http://www.salon.com/2011/10/25/exonerating_bill_buckner/
- Bedard, Paul. "Pew: Public Perception of Media Bias Hits Historic High." U.S. News & World Report. Sept. 22, 2011. (April 14, 2013). http://www.usnews.com/news/washington-whispers/articles/2011/09/22/pew-public-perception-of-media-bias-hits-historic-high
- Campbell, Charlie. "The Blame Game: 11 Scapegoats in History." Huffington Post. Feb. 15, 2012. (April 12, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charlie-campbell/historical-scapegoats_b_1258511.html
- Dye, Lee. "Are You Angry With God?" ABC News. Jan. 6, 2011. (April 14, 2013) http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/angry-god-thirds-americans-blame-god-problems-survey/story?id=12540557
- Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Azazel." (April 12, 2013) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/46745/Azazel
- Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Scapegoat." (April 12, 2013.) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/526601/scapegoat
- Henry, William A., III. "The Appalling Saga of Patient Zero." Time magazine. June 24, 2001. (April 14, 2013). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,145257,00.html
- Hudson, Christopher. "The ice pick man cometh." Daily Mail. July 24, 2009. (April 14, 2013). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-1201670/The-ice-pick-man-cometh-STALIN-S-NEMESIS-BY-BERTRAND-PATENAUDE.html
- Huffington Post. "Paul McCartney Says Yoko Ono Wasn't Responsible for Breaking Up the Beatles." Oct. 28, 2012. (April 14, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/28/paul-mccartney-yoko-ono-beatles-breakup_n_2034160.html
- McNamee, Gregory. "Mrs. O'Leary's Cow: Not Guilty?" Encyclopaedia Britannica Blog. Oct. 8, 2008. (April 14, 2013) http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/10/mrs-olearys-cow-not-guilty/
- National Gallery of Art. "Greco-Roman Origin Myths: Pandora." (April 12, 2013) http://www.nga.gov/education/classroom/origin_myths/art_pandora.shtm
- The Jewish Agency for Israel. "Dreyfus, Alfred (1859-1935). (April 12, 2013) http://www.jewishagency.org/JewishAgency/English/Jewish+Education/Compelling+Content/Eye+on+Israel/Gallery+of+People+(Biographies)/Dreyfus+Alfred.htm
- Time. "Bill Buckner's Error." Oct. 21, 2008. (April, 14, 2013) http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2008/10/21/top-10-world-series-moments/slide/bill-buckners-error/
- Turner, Dale. "Satan an easy scapegoat for shortcomings." The Seattle Times. July 29, 2000. (April 14, 2013) http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000729&slug=4034163
It pays to promote. That's how Amerigo Vespucci got a new continent named in his honor. That and a little historical misunderstanding.