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For many, fair accounting of ’86 World Series still eludes

RUSTY KENNEDY/AP/FILE 1986

A botched play prompted many Red Sox fans to blame Bill Buckner for the 1986 World Series loss.

I always enjoy reading Kevin Paul Dupont’s “On Second Thought” in the Sunday Sports section. I just wish that last week’s column, “Compounding the error,” had done more to correct the long-standing myth that it was Bill Buckner who cost the Red Sox the 1986 World Series.

The Sox were up 5-3 with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the 10th. Then reliever Calvin Schiraldi gave up three singles, which, combined with what Dupont and I call Rich Gedman’s passed ball (wrongly scored as reliever Bob Stanley’s wild pitch), tied the score. Only then was the ground ball hit to Buckner.

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Schiraldi was imploding the same way he did in the American League Championship Series, but manager John McNamara left him in too long, again. If there are any goats in this disaster, it was not Buckner, but rather Schiraldi and McNamara. Even if Buckner had fielded the ground ball to force an 11th inning, the Mets had pulled a Lazarus and had the momentum.

What’s more, the Sox had a three-run lead halfway through Game 7.

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A quarter of a century later, it still makes an interesting story that Buckner lost us the World Series. But that is not fair or accurate.

Dave Ostrow

Sudbury

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