What was Bill Buckner’s Net Worth?
Bill Buckner was a retired American professional baseball player who had a net worth of $8 million at the time of his death in 2019. During his career, Bill Buckner played for five MLB teams from 1969 to 1990. Starting as an outfielder with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went on to play for the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels, and Kansas City Royals. Infamously, with the Red Sox, Buckner made a critical error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series that made him a pariah among fans.
After retiring, Bill moved to Idaho where he became a successful real estate investor. He even developed a housing subdivision that he named “Fenway Park”.
Unfortunately Bill Buckner died on May 27, 2019 at the age of 69 after suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.
During his career Bill Buckner earned around $3.5 million in total salary. That’s the same as around $8 million after adjusting for inflation.
Early Life and Education
Bill Buckner was born on December 14, 1949 in Vallejo, California to Marie and Leonard. He was raised in nearby American Canyon with his siblings Bob, Jim, and Jim’s twin sister Jan. Buckner’s father passed away in 1966. As a teenager, Buckner went to Napa High School, where he played both baseball and football. He graduated in 1968. Buckner went on to briefly attend Los Angeles Valley College, USC, and Arizona State University.
Minor League Career
In the 1968 MLB draft, Buckner was selected in the second round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Upon signing with the team, he was sent to the Ogden Dodgers of the Pioneer League. For the 1968 season, he hit .344 with four home runs and 44 RBI in 64 games. The next season, Buckner played with four different teams in the Dodgers’ farm system, as he advanced quickly due to strong performances. He was called up to the Dodgers late in the season, making his MLB debut on September 21. However, after performing poorly with the team early in the 1970 season, he was sent back to the minors to play with the Spokane Indians. Buckner played the majority of that season with his jaw wired shut, as he had broken it. In September, he was called back up to the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers
In 1971, Buckner secured a starting job with the Dodgers as the team’s opening-day right fielder. He went on to hit his first career home run in a road win over the Houston Astros in early April. Buckner later played some games as a first baseman with the Dodgers, making 87 starts in the position in 1973. However, after Steve Garvey emerged as a Gold Glove first baseman, Buckner was moved permanently back to left field. In 1974, he was involved in a memorable moment in left field when he climbed the fence in an attempt to catch Hank Aaron’s record 715th home run. The same year, he played in his first World Series, which saw the Dodgers lose to the Oakland Athletics in five games. Buckner finished his career as a Dodger in 1976 having batted .289 with 38 home runs and 277 RBI.
After the 1976 season, Buckner was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Due to a staph infection he got in his ankle, he was moved back to first base. With the Cubs, Buckner became a star; he contributed a grand slam to the famous slugfest at Wrigley Field in May of 1979, and won the NL batting title in 1980 with a .324 average. In 1982, he broke Mickey Vernon’s MLB record for assists at first base, with 159. However, in 1984, Buckner’s playing time declined as Leon Durham took over first base. Disgruntled, he vowed not to shave until he was allowed to play two consecutive games at first base. He finally shaved when he discovered he was to be traded the next day to the Boston Red Sox. The Cubs proceeded to win their division, and reached the postseason for the first time in 39 years.
Boston Red Sox, 1984-1987
Buckner was acquired by the Boston Red Sox early in the 1984 season. He had one of his best career seasons in 1985, when he recorded career highs of 110 RBI, 201 hits, and 46 doubles and extended his own record for assists with 184. Buckner continued performing strongly the following season, recording his 1,000th career RBI and hitting a career-high 18 home runs. The Red Sox went on to the ALCS, where they came back from the brink of elimination to beat the California Angels. In the 1986 World Series, the Red Sox were leading the heavily favored New York Mets 3-2 when Game 6 went into extra innings. The Mets went on to tie the game before Buckner infamously fumbled a ball at first base, allowing Ray Knight to score the winning run for the Mets. In the deciding Game 7, the Mets rallied to win the World Series. Due to his crucial error, Buckner became demonized by Red Sox fans, who saw him as emblematic of the “Curse of the Bambino” that had purportedly kept the team from winning the World Series. Buckner was released by the Red Sox midway through the 1987 season.
After being released from the Red Sox, Buckner signed with the California Angels, with which he played the remainder of the 1987 season. He continued with the team until his release in early May of 1988. In 76 total games with the Angels, Buckner hit .288 with three home runs and 41 RBI.
Kansas City Royals
Buckner signed with the Kansas City Royals following his release from the Angels in 1988. During his time with the team through 1989, he played 168 games and hit .239 with four home runs and 50 RBI.
Boston Red Sox, 1990
In 1990, Buckner returned to the Red Sox as a free agent. However, his return was short-lived, as he retired on June 5. For his abbreviated season, he batted .186 with one home run and 3 RBI.
After his MLB retirement, Buckner moved his family to Idaho and invested in real estate in the Boise area. He also became a minority owner of a local car dealership, to which he lent his name. In early 2011, Buckner became the manager of the Can-Am League’s Brockton Rox. The next year, he became the hitting instructor for the Boise Hawks. Buckner officially retired from baseball in 2014.
Personal Life and Death
With his wife Jody, Buckner had three children: Brittany, Christen, and Bobby.
On May 27, 2019, Buckner passed away from Lewy body dementia in Boise, Idaho.