Up until October 27, 2004, the words “Bill Buckner” elicited groans, eye rolls, and spicy expletives from Red Sox fans who had long been in the throes of their team’s seeming eternity of ineptitude. All of that vaporized on that crisp autumn evening in St. Louis when the Red Sox put the finishing touches on their first World Series championship in 86 years with a sweep of the Cardinals.
Three years later, clearly because once just wasn’t enough, Boston was celebrating another World Series with a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
These days, Red Sox fans have forgiven, if not forgotten, Buckner. After decades of finger-pointing and inflammatory confrontations led to Buckner’s exile to Idaho, all is well — strike that, “better” — in Red Sox Nation. Buckner no longer needs police protection and Sox fans can still taunt their Yankee counterparts for having won twice as many titles in the past seven years.
Heck, Buckner even returned to Fenway to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in 2008. Of course, the Red Sox brass no doubt made sure they had secured TWO titles and the demons were sufficiently expunged before even considering letting Buckner back through the door.
So as a matter of public record, I offer this: 27 years ago today the Red Sox sent Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley to the Chicago Cubs for Buckner.
See? You were able to read that without any hint of an adverse reaction. No facial tic, no angry slam of the table, no kicking the dog.
You’ve come a long way.