Rocky Mountain Baseball

 

Friends_of_Basball__09.jpgThis 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.

I laughed.

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.

3 Comments

That is wonderful Tommy, Have a great time in Denver.
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Billy Buckner was my first Dodger autograph, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I shall always see Billy as a Dodger in my mind. Thanks for the memories Billy.
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Your Fellow Idahoian, Bob :-)

I just wanted to thank you for making the trip this morning with Mr. Buckner. It was an honor to hear you speak, and even more so that my 12 year old daughter and 9 year old son were able to hear your message. I really appreciated you telling all the youngsters how important an education is, and how the name on the front of the jersey is more important than they one on the back. My wife and I have been giving the same message, but having you there saying it really struck home with the kids. They talked about it all the way home. Thanks again and many more good seasons to you and yours.
Travis Jackson.

Hi Tommy,
My name is John Cruz (“Johnny Dodger”). I live in Brooklyn, NY. I live among Met fans (ex-Dodger fans; so they say) and Yankee fans, naturally.Agony in itself.
My friend Tom and I who passed away in 2005 met you at The Grand Hyatt in 1985. As a matter of fact I have the picture that we took with you in the hotel. That was a Saturday afternioon game. The pitching matchup that day was Fernando vs. Gooden. I remember The Daily News’ headline that day was; DUEL IN THE SUN. we went home HAPPY that day. We took a picture with you and The Dodgers won 5-3. I remember Greg Brock hit 2 HRs. Hope tio see you in May when The Dodgers come to town in 1st place I hope.
Tommy, if you;re not busy drop me a line at:
john.Cruz@NY.FRB.ORG
I work for The Federal Reserve Bank of New YorK if you’d ever want a tour to see the Gold Vault let me know I’d be glad to take you on it.
Oh yeah. Tommy; I CAN’T LEAVE THIS OUT. I FEEL THAT WHEBN THE DODGERS ARE ON TV; HALF OF THE WORLD THINKS ABOUT ME BECAUSE I’VE BEEN TO VIET NAM, PUERTO RICE ETC. MOST OF NY ANYWAY.
WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU . IF WE SEE EACH OTHER IN NY IN MAY I WILL BRING THE PICTURE. MY FRIEND TOM WHO I KNOW IS WITH “THEBIG DIDGER IN THE SKY” WOULD WANT THAT.

Johnny,

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