It's one of those moments in sports you remember everything about. You know what you were doing, where you were watching it, and the shock you felt when it happened. 30 years ago, on October 25th, 1986, the ball passed between first baseman Bill Buckner's legs, costing the Boston Red Sox the game and the World Series.
Days before the World Series began, Buckner was interviewed about his thoughts going into the matchup. His response? "The dreams are that you're gonna have a great series and win. The nightmares are that you're gonna let the winning run score on a ground ball through your legs. Those things happen, you know. I think a lot of it is just fate." Undoubtedly, fate was not on Boston's side, as their World Series drought that began after 1918 would linger until 2004.
In fairness to Buckner, the pitching staff let down Bostonians more than he did. They blew a two-run lead in the 10th inning thanks in large part to a mistake by pitcher Bob Stanley. He who threw a wild pitch all the way to the backstop which let the tying run score from third, and set up Mookie Wilson to bring home the winning run.
After Mookie fought off about 9 foul balls in the at bat, he finally kept one in play long enough to roll past the first base bag and under Buckner's legs. One of the most bizarre finishes to a World Series game ever, and one of the most tumultuous outcomes for Red Sox fans.
The Curse of the Bambino began after the team's last World Series title in 1918, when they traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. Boston was never the same. They'd appear in the World Series in 1946, 1967, 1975, and 1986, but to no avail. It was a sinking feeling for fans who had to watch their rivals in New York win title after title to the tune of 27 championships in less than 100 years.
The Red Sox would lose Game 7 of the '86 series after taking an early 3-0 lead, and resentment behind Buckner reached a boiling point. Despite hitting .273 through 95 games the following season, the team was forced to release him.
Following stints with the California Angels and Kansas City Royals, he was re-signed by Boston in 1990. In his first game back at Fenway Park, Buckner received a standing ovation. He officially retired from the sport in June 1990.
For baseball fans, mainly fans from Boston, that day in 1986 will always feel like it was yesterday.