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Friday, October 31, 2008

Card of the Week: 1981 Bill "Parallel Lines" Buckner

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 2:07 PM

Just consider this one an addendum to what I like to call the Mustache Show.

See, while I was rounding up the various 'staches that I wanted to feature, I came across this little gem, and just absolutely fell in love with it. The only problem was that as I pared down the list to the final ten, this particular one got sort of kicked to the curb. As much as I loved it, I simply couldn't justify bumping any of the others off the list in order to make room for it. Thus, it fell by the wayside.

Until now.

What we have here is a Bill Buckner 1981 card by Fleer. And just look at that mustache. Better yet, look at the unibrow above it, giving Buckner the rare "parallel lines" effect, making it an appropriate choice for Card of the Week.

Mr. Buckner, if you're out there, I'm sorry I left you off the official list. Hopefully, this will help make it up to you just a bit.

I also have to admit, Buckner's been on my mind lately anyway. Every year when the World Series rolls around, you constantly hear all the replays of the great calls that have gone along with the Fall Classic over the years. The final outs of half a dozen different series, more Yankee highlights than you could ever wish to hear, Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" that got the New York Giants into the Series in '51, and tons of others.

My two favorites, though, and the two that really stand out for me above all the others, are the Jack Buck call of Kirk Gibson's homer off Eckersley in 1988 ("I don't believe what I just saw!"), and the call on Mookie Wilson's grounder that got through Buckner's legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Of course, by that time, Buckner had moved on from the Cubbies to the Red Sox and gotten rid of the mustache (coincidence? I think not. Had he kept the 'stache, methinks the Sawx wouldn't have had to wait another eighteen years.), leaving one curse only to become a part of another.

To this day, the sound of Bob Murphy screaming "It's a slow roller up the first base line, and ... gets by Buckner! Gets by Buckner!", never fails to send chills up my spine. I honestly don't really remember the series itself; I was only six at the time and just not that interested in baseball games that didn't involve my beloved Cardinals, but the call has imbedded itself in my brain over the years.

And so a salute, I think, is in order. To a man who gave us one of the great moments in postseason history, even if it's a moment I'm sure he would give anything to forget. Nobody remembers that Buckner was a lifetime .289 hitter who had over 2,700 hits in his career; all they remember is that one night in October of '86 when the ball stayed down and Buckner didn't. But in the end, that's just the way it goes sometimes. Hey, at least he'll be remembered for something, right?

Two things, actually. I mean honestly, who could possibly forget that mustache?

- Aaron Schafer

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