When former Red Sox player Bill Buckner returned to Boston’s Fenway Park in 2008 to a standing ovation, it seemed that the sports-crazed city had forgiven his game-losing error in the 1986 World Series.
But even if it’s been forgiven, it hasn’t been forgotten -- at least not by the Boston Globe. Error pages on the Globe’s Boston.com website now feature a photo of Buckner’s flub, which allowed the New York Mets to score the winning run in game six of the series. The Mets won the next game, seizing the championship.
The photo recently began appearing on the so-called 404 pages, greeting visitors who mistype a URL or try to view a story that has been removed. The picture, taken by the Globe’s staff, shows Buckner missing a ground ball.
Buckner was hounded out of Boston in 1987, less than a year after he was blamed for costing the team the World Series. Reached at his home in Idaho yesterday, Buckner said the Globe didn’t give him a courtesy call that it would be using the photo. Still, he doesn’t plan to ask for it to be taken down. Both the Globe and the Red Sox are owned by investor John Henry, who acquired the newspaper last year for $70 million.
“Nobody likes it when they land on a 404 error page, so we added some levity to the experience by equating the frustration of a digital dead-end with what it’s often felt like to be a fan in the best damn sports city in America, at least up until 2004,” Ellen Clegg, executive director of communications at the Boston Globe, said in an e-mail. The company expects users will see less of the 404 page as it enhances a recent redesign of Boston.com, Clegg said.
The Red Sox have won the World Series three times since Buckner’s error, in 2004, 2007 and 2013. Before that, the team hadn’t won the championship since 1918, struck by what fans called the “Curse of the Bambino.” The drought began after the Red Sox sold player Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
When Buckner returned to Fenway in 2008 and threw the first pitch on opening day, the Globe wrote a story chronicling the event. Unfortunately, that article is currently missing from the website, meaning fans trying to see it are greeted by the 404 page showing Buckner’s missed catch.
Buckner, who had a 22-year major-league career and won the 1980 National League batting title with the Chicago Cubs, became a coach after retiring as a player in 1990. He isn’t dwelling on his error taking on a new life.
“I have no interest in it,” Buckner said.