Former Red Sox Manager John McNamara Defends His Decision to Leave Bill Buckner in Game 6
In an upcoming documentary on the MLB Network titled, 1986: A Postseason To Remember, former Boston Red Sox manager John McNamara defends his controversial decision to leave first baseman Bill Buckner in the field in the now infamous Game 6 of the 1986 World series.
"The case is that Buckner was the best first baseman I had," said McNamara. "And Dave Stapleton has taken enough shots at me since [then] that he didn't get in that ball game, but Dave Stapleton's nickname was 'Shakey.' And you know what that implies. I didn't want him playing first base to end that game, and it was not any sentimental thing that I had for Billy Buck to leave him out there. He was the best first baseman I had."
The game has now become part of baseball lore. The Red Sox were just one inning away from claiming their first World Series trophy since 1918, but blew a late-inning lead due to three Mets’ hits, a wild pitch and an error by Buckner, who had Mookie Wilson’s ground ball go through his legs, allowing the winning run to score for New York. The Mets went on to win Game 7.
McNamara also claims that Roger Clemens, the Red Sox ace at the time, asked out of the game after seven innings, saying he had a blister on his pitching hand. "I don't know why [McNamara] would say something like that, if it was to deflect attention from the game," Clemens said. "[There was] a little problem with my finger. If they're saying they didn't see anything with my finger, I mean, there was blood on the baseballs and crazy things like that, but it wasn't going to affect me to continue."