Sox Fans Won’t Forget Bucky Dent.
It was probably ten years ago—maybe more—and I was on one of my extended train trips with a half dozen Red Sox games on the schedule—three in Fenway Park and three against Texas in their old ballpark in Arlington where the Rangers were playing at the time.
I arrived at the ballpark early for the first game and learned the Rangers had a pre-game ceremony arranged: the U.S. Army’s parachute team doing an exhibition jump into the ballpark.
At exactly the appointed time, a military plane flew over and six paratroopers jumped and came floating down into the ballpark, landing in the middle of centerfield. One of them—the lead jumper, I guess—had a certificate commemorating the occasion, which they planned to present to the Texas Ranger players.
The stadium P.A. announcer had the specifics: “Accepting the certificate on behalf of the Texas Rangers is Ranger 3rd Base Coach Bucky Dent.”
And scattered all around the ballpark, mostly in groups of twos and threes, there was booing! I was the only boo-er among perhaps a total of 200 or so people in my section between home and third.
The man and his wife sitting next to me both appeared surprised at the smattering of boos coming from little pockets of fans all over the ballpark. I confess to being one of them.
Bucky Dent’s 9th inning home run denies the Boston Red Sox their first ever appearance in a World Series.
“Now why in the world are you folks booing Bucky?” The man was clearly mystified.
Of course these two perfectly nice people could never understand the depth of emotion that boiled to the surface at the mere mention of the man forever known by Red Sox fans throughout New England as Bucky F—– Dent.
I explained that the boos were coming from transplants or visiting Red Sox fans like me because thirty-plus years earlier, Bucky Dent had hit a home run for the New York Yankees that kept the Red Sox out of the 1978 World Series.
“But that was more than 30 years ago,” said the wife. There was a reprimanding tone in her voice now. “It’s time to forgive and forget and enjoy the game.”
“You’re right,” I said.
But in my mind, I could still see that ridiculous, little pop-up barely clear the wall just a few feet fair and ending the Red Sox hopes for their first ever appearance in a World Series.
Forgive? Certainly. But forget Bucky F——- Dent? Never!