A few hours ago, the verified Twitter account of former big-league player and manager Bobby Valentine sent out this tweet:
As I clear my head and hold back the tears I know I will always remember Billy Buck as a great hitter and a better friend. He deserved better. Thank god for his family. I ll miss u Buck!— Bobby Valentine (@BobbyValentine) May 27, 2019
The tweet implied that his former teammate and friend Bill Buckner had passed away, but there was no direct statement and no confirmation.
Sadly, we now have confirmation that Bucker has died:
Just got off the phone with Jody Buckner, who called to me that her husband, the great Bill Buckner, one of the finest men I've known, died this morning. She wanted to share this statement: "After battling the disease of Lewy Body Dementia, (cont.)— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) May 27, 2019
Bill Buckner passed away early the morning of May 27th surrounded by his family. 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."— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) May 27, 2019
Bill was 69.
Bill Buckner was a Cub from 1977 through mid-season 1984, when he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Dennis Eckersley. He was always a popular player on the North Side and had over 1,100 hits in a Cubs uniform, leading the National League in batting average in 1980 with a .324 BA.
Buckner also played several seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers before coming to the Cubs in a deal before the 1977 season (along with Ivan De Jesus) for Rick Monday and Mike Garman.
I’ll have lots more to say about Bill Buckner tomorrow. He was a significant part of this franchise’s history for almost eight full seasons. In the meantime, condolences to his family, friends, fans and all he knew throughout baseball.