Bill Buckner is back.
Not the Bill Buckner who let Mookie Wilson's grounder go through his legs. That poor guy whose terrific career has been tossed aside because he had a sentimental manager.
Truth is, Buckner should not have been on the field when he was, but manager John McNamara wanted his vet to be on the field, despite wrecked knees that haunted Buckner throughout his career.
Actually, those same knees likely kept Buckner for Hall of Fame consideration, for though his .289-174-1208 totals don't seem that eye opening, 1077 runs and 2715 hits are, and had Buckner's aggressive play not caused several long stints on the DL over 22 years, certainly he would have accumulated 3000 total hits.
As a Dodger fan during those great Dodger years in the early 70's, when Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Dave Lopes, and Bill Russell anchored the Bums infield, Buckner was their hard playing left fielder. And, no one played harder, or got their uniform dirtier than Billy B. So that aggressive play contributed as much to the injuries and hole in his career stats as anything.
In 1980 Buckner led the league in batting, and twice he led the circuit in doubles, and once at-bats. And, well, he is from the Bay Area, with nearby Vallejo (also the home town of C.C. Sabathia) being his birthplace, so, well, he does the area proud.
Buckner was just hired to manage Brockton Rox, the local independent Can-Am League team. The gig will bring him back to Massachusetts, and back to baseball, the game he played so well and with so much abandon.
Welcome back Billy B. We missed you, and the game is richer with you where you belong. Maybe even to the Major Leagues one of these days.