Letters: Remembering Bill Buckner, the ballplayer

Bill Buckner dies at 69
Former Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner acknowledges the cheers from the crowd before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a game between the Red Sox and Detroit Tigers on April 8, 2008 at Fenway Park.
(Brian Snyder-Pool / TNS)

Bill Buckner’s Dodgers uniform was always dirty as Vin Scully described it on the radio. He was always diving, sliding, making the great catch, taking the extra base, breaking up the double play. He had bad ankles, but he still gave everything he had throughout a long career.

His talents over a great 2,700-hit career brought his teams close to championships and himself close to the Hall of Fame. No one else will ever know what it’s like to feel the brunt of the frustration of some of the most passionate fans in the world, to be the scapegoat for over 80 years of futility. Bill Buckner never deflected blame. He took it all with class and dignity. For his combination of skills as a player and a man, he may have been the greatest of all time, and not a goat.

John Thompson




Here I am, vacationing in Paris, and Bill Buckner dies. He was my favorite player — in any sport.

I remember watching a game at Dodger Stadium in what I am sure was his rookie season. He hit five rockets, and every one was caught.

The last one almost took the head off the right fielder. Buckner was so frustrated as he stared out to right, knowing that he should be five for five instead of 0 for 5, that he ripped first base out of the ground and tossed it away.


Somehow I knew it wasn’t a temper tantrum, but a burning competitive fire. I saw some of myself in him and liked him immediately. I eventually had a jersey made with his name and No. 22 on the back. I’ve worn it to every game I’ve been to for the past three decades.

RIP, Billy Bucks. Thanks for the memories.

Eric Monson



Bill Buckner will be remembered by some by that one play. But the play I choose to remember him by is, as a Dodger, No. 22 atop the left-field fence in Atlanta in a maximum effort to catch Hank Aaron’s home run No. 715 to break Babe Ruth’s all time home run record. RIP, Billy Bucks.

Ron Tom




As a 9-year-old in the summer of ’71, I had a Bill Buckner glove. Like him, I was a lefty, about the youngest on the team and I loved the hustle and pure joy he showed when he played the game. One day I hit a grand slam and that same night, my dad  took me to the Dodger game and Buckner hit a grand slam. I was so excited.

Ken Feldman


Stick it to them

Any chance the Dodgers would consider replacing Joe Kelly Bobblehead night with Joe Kelly Voodoo Doll night?

I’d be there for that.

Larry Weiner


Culver City


The article comparing Cody Bellinger to Mike Trout is yet another example of bandwagon mentality — although normally Bill Plaschke territory, it seems the illness is spreading. True, Bellinger is off to a great start, but this follows his lousy season last year, which followed his good season the previous year — and unfortunately that season ended with a horrendous postseason performance.

To truly be “just like Mike” requires several entire seasons of continued excellence. It seems like only last season there was Matt Kemp...

Excuse me while I jump off.

Ralph Martinez


Food for thought

Thank you, Bill Shaikin! Finally, a written piece on the inadequate and, frankly, awful food offered at Dodgers stadium. I’ve visited many pro ballparks across the country and marvel at how their concessions feature the region’s particular flavors. Heck, even the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Phoenix offered tastier (and less expensive!) concessions. From your lips to the Dodgers management’s ears!

Anna Bussjaeger


No Beach for Angels

The Long Beach Angels? This is all a ruse! The area there would be a horrible spot for a baseball stadium. That said, please show this area to to Steve Ballmer; that is where he should build his new arena and totally make over the area. Beautiful waterfront/marina location, major hotel chains a short walk away, numerous pre- and postgame lively hangouts, a nearby airport, and a location much more amenable to attracting an Orange County fan base. So much more appealing than Inglewood.

Ken Wigchert

Laguna Niguel

Lakers talk

Please tell Plaschke to hold on to his colostomy bag. Yes, the Laker PR department has a cleanup on aisle seven, but let’s look at the facts. Even with the hysterical press, the Lakers are still one of the top three sports franchises in the world. They own the rights to the planet’s best basketball player for two years. They have cap room to add one, possibly two, superstars this summer.

All the talking knuckleheads over at ESPN aren’t preventing LeBron from having recruiting dinners with the likes of Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Kawhi. And, let’s not forget, Anthony Davis is a Laker, David Griffith and the Pelicans just don’t know it yet. Not even Rob Lowe with a bad haircut can stop LeBron from reformulating his new championship posse. It’s as simple as one 23.

William David Stone

Beverly Hills


I’d say the Lakers are a real dumpster fire, but that would be insulting to dumpster fires.

Ron Yukelson

San Luis Obispo


Why all the doubters? I totally believe Rob Pelinka when he said he set up a dinner between Kobe Bryant and Heath Ledger. The part where Pelinka said Kobe was then so inspired he went on to score 212 points in a game against the Knicks, however, may have to be fact-checked.

Richard Turnage



Magic Johnson has officially become Elgin Baylor 2.0. First he’s the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, has a career as an all-time great and the face of a major Lakers rejuvenation, then he’s an unsuccessful head coach, and finally, he’s does a terrible job in player personnel for a Los Angeles team under one of the worst owners in the game.

Mark Lattman

Los Angeles

Fighting on

USC athletic director Lynn Swann is quoted (after parting ways with baseball coach Dan Hubbs) as saying, “We have a very successful and proud baseball tradition at USC.”

Wake up, Lynn. and smell the rosin bag!

In the last 15 years, the team has had three winning records, never finishing higher than third in the conference. More embarrassing, the Trojans have not won a conference championship since 2002 and last appeared in in College World Series in 2001. If you want current tradition and success, look across town to your cross-town rivals!

Richard Whorton

Studio City


This year USC could be forced to sell seats in the refurbished Coliseum with obstructed views of the field but after finishing 5-7 under a beleaguered head coach with his share of doubters, followed by a tumultuous off-season of recruiting misses, transfers and a “Harrell Mary” hire, it’s quite possible for Trojan fans the worse the sightline, the better.

Steve Ross

Beverly Hills

Cartoonist Jim Thompson illustrates the current situation at Santa Anita Race Track.
(Jim Thompson / Los Angeles Times)


Race day from a horse’s perspective:

The barn is noisy.

Oh no, the guy with the Lasix needle is coming.


Now I gotta pee and pee and pee.

I’m thirsty, but no one will give me water.

Gates open and we’re all running.

Coming around the last turn running as fast as I can,

No! Not the whip! I can’t go any faster! Please not the whip!

The barn is quiet again.

Stewart Oscars



Is it true? Not a single Corgi broke down or had to be euthanized at the 17-race “Corgi Nationals” on the Santa Anita turf course? Things are looking up at the Great Race Place!

John Barton


Naming rights

What everyone is thinking...

Come on, Dodge: Ram Charger Stadium !

Kathryn Reesman



The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.

Mail: Sports Viewpoint

Los Angeles Times

2300 E. Imperial Hwy.

El Segundo, CA 90245


Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.