What's Your Language?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Buckner Ball

The Buckner Ball

This image on the right is the baseball that went through Bill Buckner's legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, allowing the New York Mets to go on to win the championship.

With the Mets one strike away from defeat, Gary Carter and Kevin Mitchell singled. Then, Ray Knight singled to make the score 5-4. Next, came the Mets' speedy centerfielder, Mookie Wilson. Down to his last strike, he fouled off pitch after pitch. Then, Bob Stanley threw a wild pitch and Wilson hit a bounding ball up the first line, but, as first baseman Buckner waited for the ball to come up, it stayed down, skipping under his legs. Ray Knight scored, the Mets had the game and, soon after, the series.

When the ball skipped under Buckner's glove and went into right field, it was picked up by umpire Ed Montague. Later on, to help identify the ball, he put a small "X" on it. He then gave the ball to Arthur Richman.

Certain distinguishing marks on an historic baseball help tell the true story of the event. After the exciting game, Arthur Richman, the Mets' traveling secretary, showed the winning ball to Mookie in the jubilant clubhouse. Mookie then wrote on the ball: "To Arthur, the ball won it for us. Mookie Wilson, 10/25/86."

After Mookie signed the ball, it was passed around the Mets clubhouse, where it was kissed by the elated players. The tobacco juice stain on the right of the ball shows where one of the players kissed it.

In 1992 Richman put it on bid and Charlie Sheen won it for $93,000 -- the second highest bidder was Keith Olbermann. Sheen put it up for bid in 2000, and it netted just $64,000, sold to songwriter Seth Swirsky. BTW, once again, Keith Olbermann was the second bidder.

Tuesday night the ball that rolled through Bill Buckner's legs 25 years ago in Game 6 of the World Series failed to get a single bid (bidding on eBay closed at 11:37 p.m. EST, the exact anniversary of the error).

Of course, the minimum price was a million bucks (YES $1,000,000), so perhaps in a time of recession even rich idiots showed a little restraint.

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