BCB Interview: Cubs Legend (And Hawks Hitting Coach) Bill Buckner

Surprisingly, Buckner still looks a lot like this - Darryl Norenberg-US PRESSWIRE

A Cubs legend took a few minutes of his time to talk to me.

I have to admit being intimidated talking to Bill Buckner. He was my favorite ballplayer when I was ten, so that's always an issue. He's a legend and he doesn't have a reputation of being a man of many words. His answers to my questions were polite but brief. But he did take a few minutes out of his day to give me a few answers, so I thank him for that.

Oh, and the mustache is back. Good move by the organization to let him grow it back.

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JT: This is your second season with Boise. You obviously don't have to do this. What makes you want to be a hitting coach for these kids?

BB: Number one, it's what I do best. That's pretty much all I've done my whole life. Hit a baseball. But I enjoy working with young kids. Seeing them improve. They have a lot of fun. You work hard, it's a tough schedule. But it's just watching them grow as players.

JT: When Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over, they talked about creating a new "Cubs Way." Is that something that the organization has stressed to you and what does that mean at this level?

BB: Bottom line is that it's just doing thing to create players to help the Cubs win. Number one, you've got to have quality players. Drafting and signing players is number one. Number two is developing, coaching them. They're pretty strict on "Everyone works hard." We're here for one reason and that's to win.

JT: Couple of players I want to ask you about. Shawon Dunston Jr. He struggled when he was here last year, but he's doing much better this year. What do you think the difference for him has been?

BB: He's matured emotionally, and number two, his swing has gotten a lot better.

JT: Another guy who has already blown through here, but is a guy who Cub fans hadn't heard much from before a few weeks ago is Kevin Encarnacion. What can you tell us about him? What kind of a hitter is he? Did you help him in any way?

BB: Well I hope I did! I liked him. I think he should have been here last year. A switch-hitter. Good at bats. Take a walk. Power. Got a cannon for an arm. Good outfielder.

JT: What about Jacob Rogers? What type of a hitter is he?

BB: I like him. He's got a good stroke.

JT: Finally, I've got to just ask you one question. As someone who grew up watching you on the Cubs, I want to ask you what you remember about the 1977 season at Wrigley Field?

BB: It was very exciting, the first half. The first half was great. It was amazing. A lot of fun as a player. Especially because we weren't expected to be there. To be seven games up at the All-Star Break, but then Sutter blew out. We were playing six inning games. He was pitching three innings every day. He blew out and things went south.

JT: Thank you very much for your time.

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