Flashback: Buckner becomes Red Sox goat in ’86 World Series meltdown

Bill Buckner\'s error allowed the winning run to score in extra innings of Game 6 in the 1986 World Series.

Boston Globe/Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston Red Sox fans still can see the play develop in slow motion. Even after breaking the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and winning two more World Series since then, there still are scars.

On Oct. 25, 1986, New York Mets left fielder Mookie Wilson hit an innocent-looking groundball toward Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6 of the World Series. And that’s when time seems to freeze for both Red Sox fans and Mets fans.

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The ball, of course, went through Buckner’s legs, resulting in an improbable win for the Mets and the creation of yet another unfortunate goat in Red Sox lore.

Although Buckner was forced to shoulder the bulk of the blame, there was plenty of fault to go around. Boston allowed the tying run in the bottom of the eighth inning that forced extra innings, and the bullpen was unable to protect a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the 10th –€“ with no one on base and two outs. Plus, the tying run in the 10th scored on a wild pitch before Buckner’s error. And often forgotten is that the Red Sox won the first two games of the series at Shea Stadium, before losing two of the next three at Fenway Park.

But Buckner became the poster boy of the collapse.

The Mets went on to win Game 7, after the Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning. Boston would have to wait 18 more years before eventually ending its 86-year championship drought –€“ after which a group of fans was spotted at Busch Stadium in St. Louis carrying a banner that said Buckner was forgiven.