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Baseball from infamous Buckner play sold for $418k

Associated Press Modified: May 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: May 4, 2012
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DALLAS (AP) — The baseball that rolled through the legs of Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series was sold at auction Friday for $418,250.

Heritage Auctions said the ball was sold to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The sale price includes the buyer's premium.

Buckner hit .289 with 2,715 hits in 22 years and had more than 100 RBIs in two of his three full seasons with the Red Sox. But he is remembered by most for his error at Shea Stadium that night when Mookie Wilson's grounder rolled through his legs, allowing the New York Mets to cap a two-out rally in Game 6 with a victory in the 10th inning.

The Mets went on to win the series and Boston's championship drought that dated to 1918 last another 18 years, until 2004.

"It really embodies the emotion of sports," said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage. "That ball symbolizes both the thrill of victory for the Mets and the agony of defeat for the Red Sox fans. It really brings out a lot of emotion."

The ball was the centerpiece of an auction featuring the baseball memorabilia collection of Los Angeles songwriter Seth Swirsky that drew more than $1.2 million.

"It was a great battle between two great cities — two great baseball cities. I think that it goes above and beyond baseball to it's an American culture piece," said Swirsky, who co-wrote the hit "Tell It To My Heart" by Taylor Dayne, and has multiple hits with Celine Dion, Olivia Newton-John and Al Green.

After the ball rolled through Buckner's legs, it was picked up by right field umpire Ed Montague, who put a tiny "x'' near a seam to mark it. Montague then gave the ball to Mets executive Arthur Richman. Wilson signed it to Richman, writing: "To Arthur, the ball won it for us, Mookie Wilson, 10/25/86." As the ball made its way around the clubhouse, someone kissed it, leaving a tobacco stain.

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