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SWANSEA — Boston Red Sox Pedro Martinez was the celebrity speaker for the UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research’s 19th annual Celebrity/Scholarship Dinner on May 1 at the Venus de Milo Restaurant.

The dinner highlighted the center’s work and helped UMD students to stay in school by awarding scholarships. To date, approximately $230,000 has been awarded to more than 300 students, according to a news release.

BayCoast Bank and the family of Frank B. Sousa Jr. sponsored the event.

Martínez played in Major League Baseball from 1992 to 2009, for five teams — most notably the Boston Red Sox from 1998 to 2004. An eight-time All-Star, Martínez was at his peak from 1997 to 2003, establishing himself as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history.

Martinez spoke about his passion for giving back to help others.

“It’s more than playing baseball,” he said. “Baseball was the opportunity to do other things. It’s all one package. Through baseball, I can now help young people succeed and that is very important to my wife Carolina and me.”

Martínez received a citation from the Senate, presented by State Sen. Michael Rodrigues, acknowledging his contributions to Boston, the 2004 World Series, and his continues community involvement. UMD Baseball Coach Bob Prince brought some of his team to the stage to give him a hat and jersey and invite him to play for the team. Instead, he demonstrated some of his pitching secrets with the students, according to the release.

Jim Mullins, Compliance Officer for UMassD Athletics, led a question and answer session followed by questions from the audience. The crowd of 500 ended the night with a standing ovation for Martinez. Then, 8×10 autographed glossies of Martinez were available to be purchased.

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1. Bruins

* Can’t believe that Perron was allowed to back Rask against the boards with no intervention

* Nothing demonstrates effort like blocked shots – Bruins 19 / Blues 7

* Love it that Berube is complaining about officials now – they are toast (Bruins 16 penalty minutes to Blues 12)

* Nordstrom is making some money in this series

* Acciari and Kuraly make $28,000,000 less than Gordon Hayward

2. Red Sox May 10 of 1970 when Bruins Beat Blues

* Lost to Oakland A’s and Rollie Fingers 7-4

* Yaz, Tony C, Reggie Smith and Jerry Moses all had two hits each

* Pitchers for the Red Sox included Gary Peters, Bill Lee, Sparky Lyle and Lee Stange

* Fingers relieved Blue Moon Odom going 7.1 innings for the win

3. Celtics May 10 of 1970 when Bruins beat Blues

* Celtics season ended March 22nd with 34-48 record

* It was Tommy Heinsohn’s first year as coach

* Hank Finkel was brought in to replace Bill Russell and was booed constantly – he put up respectable numbers 9.7 points 7.7 rebounds a game

4. Baseball – owner/player negotiations – May 10, 1970 – When Bruins beat Blues

* Owners offered minimum contract to go from $10,000 to $12,000

* Daily meal money from $15 to $16

* Increase season to 162 games

5. May 10, 1970 – Hoyt Wilhelm made his 1,000 pitching appearance – When Bruins beats Blues

6. Number one baseball prospect, catcher Adley Rutschman from Oregon was intentionally walked this weekend – with the bases loaded

7. Amazing Stats – Bruins 1970 Stanley Cup

* Orr won the Conn Smythe for the playoffs and won $1,500 bonus

* Orr was only 22 years old

* Goal was scored 40 seconds into overtime

* Channel 5 switched one minute after Orr’s goal to the Red Sox game and viewers missed the celebration and Cup presentation

* Fred Stanfield, Johnny Bucyk and Johnny McKenzie combined for 52 points in the 1970 postseason

8. Old School – May 11th, 1970 – Bruins parade through Boston – the starting pitchers in baseball included an amazing seven 150 game winners on the same day – Seaver, Carlton, Bunning, Jim Perry, Phil Niekro, Niekro, Stottlemeyre

9. Just a Little Bit Outside – In a letter from President Roosevelt to baseball commissioner Judge Landis on whether to continue baseball during World War II – “Baseball provides a recreation which does not last over two hours or two hours and half…….

10. Randomocity

* I get it the city wants bikes but to take away parking spots for bike lanes in a city that lacks parking is foolhardy

* I say the city gets rid of all cross walks – people have a false sense of security in them – you are better off jaywalking and have your guard up

* The Liberty Hotel is an amazing design and use of a old jail

* Champions League was determined by a free kick on a foul on the edge of the box where the offense had less than a 1% chance of scoring and their reward gave them a 90% chance of scoring – Suggestion – take the free kick from the place of the foul

* Liverpool and John Henry win Champions League in a snoozer – wife Linda was in full glory in her Liverpool red dress.

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Boston pitching prospect Thad Ward grew up in Fort Myers and attended many Red Sox spring training games as a youngster.

“A Red Sox spring training game was the first special baseball game I ever saw,” Ward said during a phone interview Friday. “Ever since then I was in love with the Red Sox. I was a huge Red Sox fan. I used to have a Fathead of David Ortiz on my wall in my bedroom. Huge Red Sox fan. I actually got to be a bat boy for a spring training game for them.”
He forgets the exact year he served as bat boy but he said it was either 2004 or 2007. A friend’s parent helped him receive the opportunity.

More than a decade later, Ward is making his own mark in the Red Sox minor league system. Boston selected the 6-foot-3 Ward in the fifth round of the 2018 Draft out of UCF.

The 22-year-old righty has a 2.50 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .204 batting average against in nine starts for Low-A Greenville. He has struck out 58 and walked 18 in 50.1 innings. He’s scheduled to start vs. Augusta on Saturday.

“Josh Beckett was one of my favorite (pitchers) for a while,” Ward said. “Curt Schilling was one of my favorites. But one of my favorite pitchers of all time is Nolan Ryan. That’s just because my dad was a huge Nolan Ryan fan growing up. So he has a lot of memorabilia when Nolan Ryan pitched. The famous (photo) when he dragged Robin Ventura around the mound and was beating the lights out of him, we have that picture hanging up in our house.”

Ward comes from a very athletic family. His dad Steve ran track and field at LSU.

“Back in his day, he was the fastest half miler in Louisiana,” Ward said.

But Steve began focusing his attention on baseball when his other son Zack Ward showed a passion for the sport. Zack is nine years older than Thad.
“My dad read every single baseball book out there about how to coach baseball, how to teach it,” Ward said. “When my brother got into pitching, he read every pitching book there was out there. He read all the Tom House stuff. He was a big fan of Nolan Ryan. And Tom House was (Ryan’s) pitching coach. So he read every Tom House book there was.

“When I came along and I expressed interest in baseball, he just really applied the same teachings,” Ward said. “My dad was really my only pitching coach up until my senior year of high school.”

Steve has become active in baseball himself.

“My dad is an umpire,” Ward said. “He umpires a lot of spring training. He umpires a lot of minor league stuff. But he stays local. It’s kind of like a side job for him because he’s a computer programmer.”

Brother Zack, meanwhile, played three years of basketball and one year of baseball at Averett University. He recently took over as head basketball coach at St. John Neumann in Naples, Fla.

Zack previously served as head coach of LaBelle High where he won multiple FACA District Coach of the Year awards.

“My senior year of high school, he was the basketball coach for our district rival out in LaBelle,” Ward said. “So my senior year it was me playing vs. him coaching.
“Me and my brother are both very competitive with each other,” Ward added. “We mess around a lot. Mainly about basketball because he still thinks he can beat me in basketball, which has never been true.

Ward laughed and then continued, “He’s extremely supportive of my career and what I’ve been doing.”

Ward starred as a shooting guard in high school. He received a couple opportunities to play basketball collegiately.

“I decided baseball was my better route,” he said.

Ward throws a sinker, cutter, four-seam fastball, slider and curveball. He has topped out at 95 mph several times this year.

His slider is his best pitch. He added his cutter during the final two weeks of spring training.

“And it’s become a primary pitch for me,” Ward said.

He told the Red Sox last year after they drafted he wanted to learn to throw a cutter. The staff agreed he should learn the pitch, but they wanted him to refine his other four pitches first.

“Then during spring training, I was just playing catch with one of my teammates who threw a very good cutter,” he said.

Ward asked his teammate how he threw the pitch.

“And I kind of started messing with it,” Ward said. “Several different pitching coaches saw me messing with it. And they thought it was pretty decent. So we just went ahead. They taught me how to throw a better cutter from my arm angle and arm slot.”
The toughest transition to professional ball is “all nine guys (in the lineup) can hurt you at some point in a game in different ways,” he said.

Depending on the caliber of a college team, two to five hitters in an opposing batting order can do damage, he said.

“Knowing you can’t take your foot off the gas for any particular hitter, that took a lot,” Ward said. “That’s something I struggled with a little early in Lowell (last year after signing).”

A promotion to High-A Salem is likely for Ward this season if he continues to pitch so well.

“I try not to really concern myself with all that,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s not really something I can control. I can’t control when they call me up and move me down or if I get traded. The only thing I can control is how I play. It’s my preparation, my ability to pitch is the only thing I really can control. I’m taking things day by day and doing my best to put in the work and show that I’m ready to move up. Then when a decision finally comes, I’ll be ready for it.”

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HANOVER — In the 1943 movie, Lassie came home.

In the 1996 Shawn Colvin song, Sunny came home.

In Hanover next week, Josh Tuohy’s most prized piece of sports memorabilia will come home to the Salt hill Pub, almost two years after someone stole the frame containing an autographed Carlton Fisk jersey — Red Sox No. 27.

It turned up almost as mysteriously as it had disappeared from the wall above the bar on or around Aug. 1, 2017.

“A friend of mine brought it to me at the pub in Lebanon last week,” Tuohy said on Friday. “How he found out who had it, I don’t know — just that he went to the person with his suspicions and finally got it back. When he came in with it, it just floored me. It was a busy day at the pub, and I dropped what I was doing, and gave him a big hug.”
Tuohy’s wife Meggin had given him the framed jersey, along with a Fisk baseball card from the late 1970s — “Definitely a Red Sox card, not a White Sox,” Tuohy said of the team Fisk joined in 1981 — for their first wedding anniversary about 10 years before.

Fisk, the Hall of Fame catcher who grew up in Charlestown and played high school ball for Claremont resident Ralph Silva, hit 351 home runs in 24 major-league seasons, most memorably the 12th-inning shot he pulled just inside the left-field foul pole at Fenway Park to win game 6 of the Red Sox’s 1975 World Series against Cincinnati.

“Fisk is my all-time favorite player,” Tuohy said. “I told my wife that whoever took it could not possibly know how valuable it is to me.”

Other than some minor damage to the frame itself, the contents were “totally intact,” Tuohy added. An Upper Valley frame shop is restoring it now, and Tuohy expects to hang it back over the bar of the Hanover pub on Monday.

“That’s its rightful spot,” Tuohy said. “There’s a Guinness sign there right now. I love Guinness, but …”

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Former Boston Red Sox’s players Bill Buckner, right, and Wade Boggs prior to a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Boston, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The Red Sox defeated the Rockies 8-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
By Chris Cotillo |

Former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner died Monday morning after battling dementia. He was 69.

Buckner’s family confirmed his passing in a statement.

“After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family. Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Buckner played 22 seasons in the majors, including five with the Red Sox from 1984-87 and 1990. He was an All-Star in 1981 and posted a career .289 batting average with 174 home runs and 1,208 RBIs with the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Angels and Royals.

The Red Sox issued a statement mourning Buckner’s passing.

“We are proud that Bill Buckner wore a Red Sox jersey during the course of a terrific career that spanned more than two decades,” said Red Sox principal owner John Henry. “His life was defined by perseverance, resilience and an insatiable will to win. Those are the traits for which he will be most remembered. We join the baseball world in sending our condolences and our love to Jodi and the entire Buckner family.”

“Bill Buckner personified toughness and grit, and his determination to play through pain defines him far more than any single play ever could,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. “The standing ovations our fans gave him on his visits back to Fenway Park, most notably when he threw out the first pitch before our opener in 2008, illustrate the respect and admiration we all had for Billy Buck. We mourn his loss and offer condolences to his family and many friends.”

Buckner was perhaps best-known for his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, when a Mookie Wilson grounder went through his legs with two outs to give the Mets a 6-5 win to even the series. After the error, Buckner lived in infamy for many years as the supposed “Curse of the Bambino” lived on.
Buckner displayed grace even in the years after the error and finally returned to Fenway Park for the first time since retiring as a player to throw out the first pitch at the home opener in 2008. He was emotional throughout the ceremony as he received a standing ovation from Red Sox fans.

“I really had to forgive,” Buckner told reporters in 2008, “not the fans of Boston per se, but I would have to say, in my heart, I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through. So I’ve done that. I’m over that. And I’m just happy that I just try to think of the positive. The happy things.”

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he Red Sox beat the Astros 4-3 on Sunday, snapping Houston’s 10-game winning streak.

And the Blues beat the Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference final 5-0 to take a 3-2 series lead. The winner of the series will play the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

The McCourty twins gave a commencement address: Devin and Jason McCourty, who helped the Patriots win Super Bowl LIII, are also known for their work off the football field. The two Rutgers graduates were called back to give the commencement address to the class of 2019.

Intertwined in a larger inspirational message to the new graduates, the McCourty twins made a reference to a famous Patriots moment.


“I know chasing goals can be scary. You may be doing things for the first time in your family’s history. You may be following in the footsteps of someone great,” said Devin. “But do you think we’d be standing here, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Paul Robeson’s graduation, if he let fear and doubt step in the way of being great? Would the Patriots have won six Super Bowls if Bill Belichick listened to other people and put [Tom] Brady back on the bench?”
The twins were given honorary degrees before their speech, which lasted approximately 20 minutes. Along with referencing Belichick, quotes from Cardi B and Jay-Z were also worked in.

Trivia: Red Sox rookie Michael Chavis has hit eight home runs through his first 25 MLB games. Who is the last Red Sox player to accomplish this feat? (Check the bottom of the article for the answer).

Hint: He was called up days after the Red Sox released Pablo Sandoval, and became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a home run since Tony Conigliaro.

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It was a memorable night for the Red Sox, as their ace, Chris Sale, fashioned a masterpiece, striking out 17 batters in seven innings, a few short of a major league record.

Unfortunately, after the Red Sox pulled Sale, Brandon Workman blew the save, and the team managed to lose to the Colorado Rockies, 5-4, in 11 innings on a cold Tuesday night at Fenway Park.

In the seventh inning, with 14 strikeouts to his credit, Sale gave up a two-run shot to Nolan Arenado. He still led, 3-2. He then struck out three more batters in the inning to reach 17.

The major league record of 20 was looming. It was set by a Red Sox player, Roger Clemens, and matched by Clemens (again), Kerry Wood, Randy Johnson and Max Scherzer. But Sale was at 108 pitches, and Manager Alex Cora decided that was enough.

(Tom Cheney struck out 21 players in a game in 1962 for the Washington Senators, but it came over 16 innings, and 20 is generally recognized as the record.)

The pitchers with 18 or more strikeouts all pitched at least eight innings; Sale’s 17 strikeouts were the most by any pitcher throwing seven innings, breaking the record of 16 held by Johnson (three times) and a few others.

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Along with Steve Carlton, Johnson still holds the record for most Ks in a game that went the wrong way. In 1997, he fanned 19 A’s in nine innings but gave up four earned runs and took the loss. Carlton struck out 19 Mets in a 4-3 loss in 1969.

As for keeping Sale in a little longer, Cora told reporters: “There’s a bigger goal here, and we’ve been very disciplined throughout the process.” Of Sale’s reaction he said, “In the tunnel he goes, ‘You’re not going to let me get 20?’ Sarcastic, but probably serious too.”

Even after Sale was removed, the Rockies managed to strike out seven more times, for a game total of 24. That ties for the second highest total in baseball history in a win. The Brewers fanned 26 times and still beat the Angels in a 17-inning game in 2004.

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Sale has thrown more than 108 pitches numerous times in his career, including six times last season as well as on April 28 this year, when he threw 111. His record total is 127 from 2014.

Sale said after the game: “You got 17 punchouts, you definitely want to go out for the last inning. But I respect him as much as anybody on the planet, and I’ll never question anything he does.”

Sale started the game with six straight Ks, and many of his whiffs were of the extremely nasty variety, in some cases making batters look quite bad.

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6 straight strikeouts to start the game and 8 through the first 3 innings.

Chris Sale has been untouchable.

8:04 AM – May 15, 2019
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Rob Friedman
Chris Sale, Ridiculous 83mph Slider.

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Sale has been one of baseball’s best pitchers, with seven consecutive All-Star selections and six consecutive years as a top five Cy Young vote-getter. But he started the season with five losses in his first six starts.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he said on April 17. “I just flat-out stink right now. I don’t know what it is.”

He seems to be turning it around in May though, with three starts, all with double-digit strikeouts, ending with two Red Sox wins and Tuesday’s unfortunate loss.

Sale’s previous high in strikeouts was 15, achieved three times. (The Red Sox lost one of those games too, to the Blue Jays in extra innings last May.) The game had the highest strikeout total by a Red Sox player not named Clemens.

The cold weather — 44 degrees at the game’s start — may have been a factor. Pitchers tend to benefit from cooler temperatures, and all five of the 20-strikeout games in major league history came in April, May or September.

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The Bruins dominated the Hurricanes up and down the TD Garden ice Sunday afternoon for a 6-2 Mother’s Day victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tuukka Rask made 21 saves on 23 shots against and held the Hurricanes without a goal until midway through the third period. You can watch the full highlights here. Game 3 is Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Raleigh.
The Red Sox own a five-game winning streak after finishing off a weekend sweep of the Mariners. President Donald Trump took notice of the timing of the team’s best performances yet this season:

The president contends that visiting the White House is now the opposite of the Sports Illustrated cover curse.

Michael Chavis continued his hot streak by hitting five RBIs on Sunday, powering the Sox to an 11-2 win. The Red Sox received five innings on the mound from starter Hector Velazquez before Alex Cora handed the ball over to Marcus Walden and Josh Smith to pitch two innings each. J.D. Martinez hit his sixth home run of the season.
The Red Sox now sit just three games behind the Rays for the AL East lead. They outscored the Mariners 34-8 over the three-game series, are in the midst of their longest winning streak so far this season, and own a 16-6 record over their last 22 games.

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Hurricanes captain Justin Williams had an… interesting response to losing Game 2 to the Bruins:

The Hurricanes will definitely want that taste out of their mouths before Game 3.
Williams and Brad Marchand had a confrontation mid-ice in the second period that resulted in Williams receiving a penalty. Marchand appeared to usher his opponent to the penalty box after the penalty was assessed.
“I just needed my foot in the door, and they let me in the whole house.” Patriots players David Andrews, Brandon Bolden, and James Develin offered perspective on what it’s like to be a rookie undrafted free agent:


The Patriots say the team has featured a rookie undrafted free agent make the initial 53-man roster in 15 straight seasons. Bill Belichick added at least 10 undrafted rookies to the roster after the NFL Draft in April.
Daily highlight: Kawhi Leonard’s game-winning, buzzer-beating shot to send the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 is as dramatic as it gets. Incredibly, the play was the first game-winning buzzer beater in a Game 7 in NBA history.

The Raptors advance to meet the Milwaukee Bucks, who eliminated the Celtics in round two, in the next round.
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On this day: Red Sox center fielder Fred Lynn hit for the cycle at Fenway Park in a 10-5 win over the Minnesota Twins on May 13, 1980. Lynn hit a double in the first inning, a two-run home run in the fourth, hit Jerry Remy home with a single in the sixth inning, and earned the cycle in the eighth inning with a triple to center field.

“I’m glad it wasn’t a homer,” Lynn said after the game, according to the Boston Globe‘s archives. “I’d much rather have a triple in that situation, anyway. I knew what was going on. I knew I never had the cycle and this might be a chance for it. We outfielders have a lot of time to think out there.”

Bob Watson was the last Red Sox player to hit for the cycle before Lynn, and Dwight Evans would become the next Sox batter to achieve the feat on June 28, 1984.

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No athlete in modern history deserved the vitriol and ridicule that came his way less than Bill Buckner, the former All-Star first baseman for the Boston Red Sox — and four other major league baseball teams — who passed away on Monday, at 69.

Buckner, who had been battling Lewy Body dementia, became synonymous with screwing up, just because a slow roller that trickled toward him one October night in 1986, during Game 6 of the World Series between his Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets, scampered under his glove and into right field, allowing the Mets to score the winning run and send the Series to a seventh game, which the Mets won because, well, that’s how these things work. That World Series loss extended the so-called Curse of the Bambino, Boston’s torturous World Series title drought, to 68 years. Fans heckled Buckner at Fenway the following season, before the Red Sox released him. He received death threats.

That all seems silly as now, as Boston went on to win four titles since the turn of the century, the most recent one last season. Buckner returned to the good graces of Boston fans as soon as four years after his error, when he came back to the Red Sox for a brief 1990 stint and received a standing ovation. The fans also feted a teary Buckner when he threw out the first pitch at the home opener in 2008, after Boston won the 2007 World Series, their second in four seasons. “Won’t you please welcome him back to Boston,” said the PA announcer that day, “and let him know that he is welcome always, number 6, Bill Buckner.”
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But Buckner was never lucky that Boston forgave him for his error. No, the fans benefitted from his kindness. He forgave them.

For the harms of his error were always ridiculously overblown. First of all, the game was already tied when Mookie Wilson’s dribbler went between his wickets. The Mets owned all the momentum, as they rallied from being one single strike away from elimination. New York scored the game-tying run on a wild pitch by Boston reliever Bob Stanley, and even if Buckner had fielded the ball cleanly and threw Wilson out at first, there’s no guarantee Boston wins the game in the subsequent innings.

Not to mention that Wilson, a speedy runner, might have beaten out a throw to first anyhow. Or that Buckner was basically playing on one foot – he had injured in his ankle and was hobbling around the field. Red Sox manager John McNamara reportedly wanted Buckner to be on the field to celebrate Boston’s historic victory, which is a kind sentiment, but counts as managerial malfeasance. Buckner should have been seated in the dugout that inning, replaced by Dave Stapleton, a far healthier defender.

Buckner finished his 22-year career, which stretched across four decades (1969-1990), with 2,715 career hits, close to the 3,000 hit milestone that all but guaranteed Hall of Fame enshrinement in the pre-steroid era. He won a batting title for the Chicago Cubs, in 1980, and was a key cog in the Boston lineup back in 1986, as he drove in 102 runs, second-highest on the team behind Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who drove in 110.
Buckner came to terms with his infamy. He struck up a friendship with Wilson, who kept the Mets’ chances alive that Series just by putting the bat on the baseball. The pair hit the collectibles circuit, signing autographs as a buddy-buddy act linked in infamy. “I felt badly for some of the things he went through,” Wilson said in a statement Monday. “Bill was a great baseball player whose legacy should not be defined by one play.” Buckner gamely played himself in a 2011 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm; Larry David’s character threw him an autographed Mookie Wilson baseball, but Buckner failed to catch it. The ball fell out of an Manhattan window and onto the street, enraging Susie Greene — played by invective superstar Susie Essman — whose lumpy husband Jeff was a Wilson fan on the show.

“It was a horseshit throw,” he told David. Buckner later made a diving catch to save a baby dropped from a burning apartment.

Eventually, Buckner was able to laugh off his mistake. But his passing still offers a useful reminder: Whether it’s Buckner, or Steve Bartman, the Cubs fan ostracized in his own city for inadvertently interfering with a Chicago outfielder while trying to catch a foul ball during Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, which the Cubs lost, or former Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, who missed a chip shot field goal in the final minute of a 2016 playoff game, humans don’t deserve to be remembered for their lowest moment when all they did was, maybe, cost a team a silly game.

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Remembering Ted Williams, one of the greatest MLB players that wore the Red Sox jersey for 19 years. Reflecting on the journey that led to his induction.
Growing up in Canada, I’ve always been engulfed in Toronto Blue Jays team news. Now I’m on a mission to learn more about the rich Red Sox history in which I’ve learned about David Eckstein, Luke Wrenn, and Koji Uehara. This week I’m moving onto one of the greatest outfielders in Red Sox history: Ted Williams.

BoSox Injection’s Rick McNair rated Ted Williams as having one of the top MVP All-Star Game heroics of the past. BoSox Injection’s Sean Penney named Ted Williams as one of the top five left fielders in franchise history. Who was Ted Williams? In his own words, Williams once said,

“All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street folks will say, ‘There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived.’”

Williams had a big, powerful dream that one day came true. He was traded by San Diego in 1937 for three players and cash considerations. Williams spent 19 years with the Red Sox (minus an absence in which he couldn’t play because of his obligation to the military). Accomplishments for the left fielder include being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966, a 2-time MVP, 2-time Triple Crown, 19-time All-Star, 6-time Batting Title and 5-time ML Player of the Year.

He won 15 awards in total. He spent 13 seasons in the top-10 for Batting Average, On-base Percentage, and Slugging Percentage. He spent 5 seasons in the top-10 for Games Played, Hits, Doubles, and Total Bases. *Takes a moment to catch breath*, the list continues to go on. He spent 15 seasons in the top-10 for Home Runs and 4 seasons in the top-10 for Triples. He’s been on the top-10 board for being both the youngest and the oldest in MLB (5 seasons).

Williams had a remarkable career with the Red Sox. Many wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t lost those years to his military service. The accomplishments he could have made, the records he could have broken, the change to history that would have happened because of him.

Often he was compared to and competed against records made by Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. Williams ended his career with a .344 BA, .482 OBP, .634 SLG, 521 HRs, 24 Stolen Bases in 2,292 games. His last at-bat ended with that 521st homer. It was an extraordinary end to his career and it could have ended much better than that. Ted Lyons said,

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“Williams was a Ty Cobb as far as being an intelligent batter. He wouldn’t hit at a bad ball. All he’d want to talk about was hitting.”

What kind of man was Williams? Anything he put his mind to, he achieved. Williams carried the weight of providing for his family on his shoulders. Knowing that he must provide for his family, this weight was a driving factor for him to be successful. Bearing this in mind, he prolonged fighting in the war for as long as possible. When he finally enlisted in the war, he flew 39 missions. As a result of his service he lost his hearing. Everything Williams did, he succeeded in.

“As he did with baseball, he excelled at his new craft. During his training, he set records for hits, shooting from wingovers, zooms and barrel rolls. He also set a still-standing student gunnery record, in reflexes, coordination and visual reaction time.”

Williams had a love-hate relationship with reporters and fans. When he decided to prolong enlistment in the military, it was a decision that fans and the press did not take lightly. In one particular instance during a game, he had a spitting incident when fans booed him. He was fined $5,000 for act. It was clear that Williams was a sensitive man and did not take well to criticism. His initial reaction when offended was to fight back.

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Baseball was his craft; it was his real passion, so he made sure to know it and to know it well. He used his memory to his advantage, he stored information about pitchers, the impact of the weather, how the ball was moving, and even how the conditions of the field would factor into the game.

In many ways, Williams was ahead of his time in understanding the importance that these elements would have in his game. All talented players understand the importance of memory, the importance of learning their craft. But what Williams trained himself to understand was more in-depth than that of his competition. Williams himself was a very humble man,
“Everybody tries to make a hero out of me over the Korean thing, “I was no hero. There were maybe 75 pilots in our two squadrons and 99 percent of them did a better job than I did.”

Williams had a remarkable career. He’ll always be remembered as one of the bests. He was talented on the field and a character off the field. He left behind him lessons of being a skilled player, but also left behind bigger lessons of humility and conduct off the field.

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Williams always struggled with the harsh relationship that came from being a Red Sox player. He wasn’t always right in how he decided to conduct himself in those situations, but he did help to shed light on the situation from a player perspective. He was smart, driven, humble, and his accomplishments speak for themselves.