Boston Red Sox

BOSTON - APRIL 08: Former Boston Red Sox player Bill Buckner acknowledges the cheers from the crowd before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the MLB baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers on April 8, 2008 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Snyder-Pool/Getty Images)

By Matt McCarthy,

Former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner died Monday at the age of 69.

“After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family,” his family said in a statement to ESPN. “Bill fought with courage and grit as he did all things in life. Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Fairly or unfairly, Buckner will be remembered for his error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. But Buckner put together a strong major league career, amassing a .289 career batting average and over 2,700 hits. He won the batting title in 1980.

Red Sox fans scapegoated Buckner’s role in the 1986 collapse for years, but his 10th inning error was just the final blow in a series of unforgettable mistakes that cost the Red Sox their first World Series since 1918.

Buckner memorably returned to Fenway Park in 2008 to throw out the first pitch on opening day and was greeted with a standing ovation by Red Sox fans.

Amid heavy criticism locally, Buckner and his family moved from Massachusetts to Idaho after retiring in 1990.

Buckner played with the Red Sox from 1984-1987 and again in 1990.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.