Bucky Fucking Dent

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Posted: July 23, 2017


Bucky Dent was not the most gifted player but the former shortstop was a reliable starter during his 11-year career with various clubs. His most memorable and fruitful stint would have to be with the New York Yankees between 1977 and 1982. The most memorable moment is undoubtedly his game winning homerun in the 1977 tiebreaker between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. For this reason, he is one of the most celebrated players among the Yankees faithful, and a Villain to Red Sox fans. After the game, Sox captain would refer to him as “Bucky Fucking Dent,” a nickname that stuck for the rest of his life.

Dent, a Savannah, Georgia native began his majors career with the Chicago White Sox, drafted in 1970 after a stellar high school playing stint. Under the pressure of filling the shows of Luis Aparicio, he struggled a lot and was traded to the Yankees in 1977. That season, he cemented his place in the Yankees roster but he really came into himself in 1978.

That season, the Yankees and the Red Sox were tied at the top of the AL East Division with 99-63 records, necessitating a tiebreaker game. A coin toss gave the Sox home advantage. The two teams had a developed perhaps the fiercest rivalry in the MLB over the years, with the Yankees being much more successful. The Yankees had reached the 1976 World Series and then won the 1977 version. Meanwhile, the Sox had last tasted World Series glory in 1918. Dent was the league’s best batter in 1978 with an unusually high .417, a production that he would continue into the World Series.

The Tie Breaker Game

The game at Boston’s Fenway Park in front of more than 32,000 on October 3, 1978 started with a scoreless first inning, before the Sox took the lead in the second inning. In the sixth inning, they added a second to take a 2-0 lead. In the seventh inning, Dent stepped up to the plate, batting against Torrez. Dent fouled the second bat off his foot, leaving him in pain and needing attention from the trainer. During the break in play, it was noticed that Dent’s bat was slightly cracked. He borrowed one from Mickey Rivers, as he got ready for a swing at the next pitch. Dent did not have a reputation as a power hitter but on the ensuing hit from Torrez’s pitch, the ball flew high above the left field wall for a three-point homerun. Suddenly after so long in the lead, Boston found themselves trailing, thanks to what was the most unprecedented eventuality. Of all people in the Yankees ranks, no one expected that a player who hit just 40 homeruns in his entire career would prove to be the Achilles heel for the Red Sox. The game would end 5-4 in favor of the Yankees.

Aftermath of the 1978 Tiebreaker Game

The Yankees went on to face the Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship Series. They dispatched the Royals to set up a World Series meeting with the LA Dodgers. They would win the series, a second consecutive time and the 22nd overall. Bucky earned World Series MVP after more impressive work in the high stakes showpiece. As for the Sox, the Curse of the Bambino had been confirmed for another one year, largely thanks to Dent. In this frame, Red Sox captain Don Zimmer coined the phrase “Bucky Fucking Dent” among other salty names that were used in New England. He played four more years for the Yankees before moving on to the Texas Rangers and later the Kansas Royals, eventually retiring in 1984. In 1989, he returned to the Yankees as a manager but was fired barely one year later, ironically after a loss at Fenway Park.

Aftermath of the 1978 Tiebreaker Game

The Yankees went on to face the Kansas City Royals in the AL Championship Series. They dispatched the Royals to set up a World Series meeting with the LA Dodgers. They would win the series, a second consecutive time and the 22nd overall. Bucky earned World Series MVP after more impressive work in the high stakes showpiece. As for the Sox, the Curse of the Bambino had been confirmed for another one year, largely thanks to Dent. In this frame, Red Sox captain Don Zimmer coined the phrase “Bucky Fucking Dent” among other salty names that were used in New England. He played four more years for the Yankees before moving on to the Texas Rangers and later the Kansas Royals, eventually retiring in 1984. In 1989, he returned to the Yankees as a manager but was fired barely one year later, ironically after a loss at Fenway Park.

 

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