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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hero Worship: Bill Buckner

The Hero Worship posts are a series of posts in which I hope to explain my infatuation with the Chicago Cubs. My father was in the Air Force and we traveled the country and beyond during the first fifteen years of my life. Aside from the three years we spent in Germany, WGN and the Cubs were our connection to our relatives back in Illinois.

My love affair with the Chicago Cubs started with this man, Billy Buck, as my grandpa used to call him. I was very, very young when Buckner played for the Cubs, but my first memories of baseball are of my grandfather rooting hard for the mustachioed first baseman whilst swigging Pabst Blue Ribbon from the comfort of his easy chair. This then was how I came to know the Cubs and to associate them forever with the concept of home. My grandfather gave me my first glove and bat, and he made sure me and my brother were well supplied with Cubs clothing and paraphernalia until his death in 1983. Unfortunately, cancer claimed him before he could see the ’84 team reach the post season. He was quite a man, my grandfather, and I was named for him. The first beer I ever had was a PBR, which caused me not to drink beer until well into adulthood. (Like The Shooter, I'm a Coors' Light man.) Therefore, it’s appropriate to begin this series of posts with the player he liked the most, at least in the time that I had with him.

I still have my Bill Buckner rookie card and the amount of scorn and derision thrust upon Buckner after his error in the World Series still saddens me. I personally think Red Sox Nation took way too long to forgive this man, as he played such a crucial role in the team even making the Series to begin with. It's a pity that a guy with a pretty good career will always be remembered for that one play he didn't make. As for me, I'll always remember Billy Buck as a Cub, forever trapped in the hazy screen of my grandparents' old console television.

BallHype: hype it up!

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