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Bill Buckner earns redemption, and some laughs along the way

Sep 7, 2011, 11:57 PM EDT

Bill Buckner will always be remembered for that one moment in the 1986 World Series. You know the one.

He’s been tormented by the play for years, and for the most part has avoided talking about it. Who would have thought that Larry David, a New York Yankees fan, would come and make everything right?

David talked Buckner into appearing on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in an episode that aired on Sunday. In the first key scene, David tosses a baseball signed by Mookie Wilson to Buckner, who – naturally — lets it skip off his hands and out a window. In the end, though, Buckner redeems himself by safely catching a baby that is tossed from a burning building.

You can watch the drop here, and the catch here.

Buckner, who is currently the manager of the Brockton Rox, talked about the show with Dan Patrick, saying “I thought the whole thing was hilarious.” (Watch video above)

He also answered questions about why he did the show (“His whole thing for doing the show was to try to make me look good”), and explained that the baby-catching scene took six hours to shoot because of the difficulties of getting the baby to “land in the right spot” — not because he couldn’t catch it.

Asked if he could have done the show 10 years ago, Buckner said “Probably not. Things kind of changed for me both personally and publicly. Everything’s fine. I’m happy. Life’s good.”

Good for Bill Buckner. Being on that show is probably the best thing he could have done from a public perception standpoint. There is no way he will ever escape the 1986 World Series, but now he will also be remembered as a pretty funny guy who can poke fun at himself — as well as a damn fine major leaguer with more than 2,700 hits over 22 seasons.

As for Larry David, perhaps the next call he should make is to Steve Bartman. Hmm?

H/T to Rick Chandler, who had an early take a couple days ago.

You can follow Bob on Twitter here, or if Facebook is your thing, be his friend here.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    That baby catching riff recalls the sick joke about Mercury Morris, where he catches a baby thrown from a burning building and then, with all the onlookers cheering him, he spikes it.

  2. yankeesgameday - Sep 8, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    That just plain made me smile. Seeing buckner make that catch and being happy gave me warm fuzzies inside. Like seeing miners come out of the darkness.

  3. cur68 - Sep 8, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Whole thing is just wonderful. Bucker shouldn’t be tortured the rest of his life over that ball and I’m glad he can laugh it off and I’m really happy Larry David could do this for him. I agree Bob. Next Larry David call should be Steve Bartman. Someone should do something about that injustice, definitely.

    • kellyb9 - Sep 8, 2011 at 9:59 AM

      Saw a documentary on Bartman recently. Actually, it was about the type of scapegoating thats done in sports (Buckner was also included). It was called “Catching Fire”. All that aside, I doubt Bartman would do it – he never collected any money or anything from his 15 minutes of fame (infamy).

  4. Detroit Michael - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    I thought everything was squared away with Buckner when he was invited to throw up the opening day pitch for Boston a couple years ago.

  5. mrznyc - Sep 8, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    “throw up” the opening day pitch – Sort of says it all

  6. AK47 - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    I thought it was really cool of Larry David to do this for Bill Buckner – I’ve seen Buckner on a few specials on MLB Network and he seems like a genuinely good guy. I thought Curb also did a good job showing the audience what life must have been like for Buckner when he and Larry were walking down the street together and people were cursing at Buckner. I think anybody who wants to harbor ill feelings towards Buckner is probably pretty immature – especially since the Red Sox have won two World Championships since…

  7. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    This was cool. But the best part of this episode is not Buckner related. It is when Larry MUST give Jeff’s wife a ride in his Prius’ “f@ck machine” passenger seat. This sets her, um, off (or on?), and Larry starts making repulsed faces and sounds the whole time while she’s getting excited. That scene will never be forgotten even though I watched it through blurry tears the entire time.

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