Rocky Mountain Baseball
This Saturday morning I will be in Denver to be the keynote speaker at the Friend’s of Colorado Baseball’s Breakfast of Champions. I am excited to go because I love the Rocky Mountains, the people of Denver are great, but most importantly because I’ll have a chance to see my boy Billy Buckner who will be on hand to speak too.
Billy Buck will only be remembered for one play. But there is so much more to the man and to the player he was. I managed Billy Buck for many years in the Dodger minor league system. When you talk about hard-nosed, competitive players, look no further than Billy Buck.
He didn’t just come to the ballpark to play. He came to whoop your tail.
I can remember one time when we were playing in Hawaii. Billy Buck and I were standing up for the National Anthem and Buck had this horrible look on his face. He leaned over to me and told me he was going to hit the pitcher, Lloyd Allen, with a line drive.
A lot of guys will say that sort of thing, but you could tell theat Buck really meant it.
Well in the first inning, up comes Billy Buck and he hits a screamer right back up the middle and hits Lloyd Allen in the head.
Buckner is running down the first base line screaming at him.
I never would have believed it, but I was there and saw it happen.
It’ll be good to see him though, as he was the type of player I loved to manage. He wanted to win at all costs and played the game with every bit of drive and determination he had in his heart.