Before you stands a young confident first baseman, William Joseph Buckner of Culver City, California. This card is from 1974, his Dodger days, which preclude his Cubs days, which preclude his Red Sox days, with one of those days being an awful, awful day. (For those non-baseball oriented Shelf readers, I offer you with this clip to explain Buckner's tragedy - a blown play at first base that would have sealed a Red Sox World Series. Eventually, the title would go to the bad guys: the Mets).
When Bill Buckner committed that error in the 1986 World Series, he was my age and I now find myself instinctively defending this man. "No 37 year-old could have fielded that play, that fast, against Mookie - the fastest Met ever". [I'm a Mets fan. I have no vested interest in Buckner's vindication. But as a poet, I can not turn a blind eye to his plight].
So I find myself looking at this 1974 card of Buckner. He offers us that smart, haughty look on his face as he stands amid a sun-drenched Shea Stadium, the place that, over a decade later, would host his greatest undoing. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, on the summer day captured in this snapshot, that young haughty William Joseph Buckner committed some egregious cardinal sin, some visceral desecration of the Shea soil I love so...and that the seeds of retribution were sowed then...laying in wait?