The Boston Red Sox held their first home game yesterday at Fenway Park with a ceremony honoring the 2007 World Champions. Among those in attendance were many legendary Boston sports figures and one who had up until now been considered something less than a hero: Bill Buckner. (Hat tip: WorldMagBlog)

The year was 1986. Game Six of the World Series against the New York Mets. It’s still considered one of the classic World Series games ever played. In the bottom of the 10th inning at Shea Stadium the Red Sox lead the series three games to two and were ahead 5-3. The Mets managed to score a run and had the two on with two out when Mookie Wilson came to bat. A wild pitch scored the tying run. Then Wilson hit a ground ball down the first base line towards Buckner. The ball rolled between Buckner’s legs and allowed the winning run to score. The Mets would then go on to win the Series in Game 7 the next day.

For years Buckner was blamed for losing the Series. But yesterday Boston fans displayed their forgiveness by honoring Buckner with a four minute standing ovation yesterday before the game. Buckner told the New York Times that returning to Fenway was not easy:

“It was hard for me to do,” a teary-eyed Buckner said about returning to Fenway.

When the Red Sox first invited Buckner, he said he figured he would decline. But he said he prayed about it and decided to accept. Two titles in the past four years for Boston have lessened the sting of what happened in 1986.

“I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston per se, but I’d have to say in my heart I had to forgive the media for what they put my family through,” Buckner said.

Hats off to Bill Buckner and the Boston Red Sox fans for giving us a wonderful picture of what forgiveness looks like.

Filed under: SportsTom

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