By: Scott RossPublished: November 25, 2022

Bucky Dent

Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent was born November 25, 1951. Dent played Major League Baseball for a decade, during which time he was one of the worst-hitting shortstops in the game, but he could flash leather with the best of them. Ironically, it was at the plate that Dent made a name for himself with heroics that haunt New Englanders to this day.

In 1978, Dent and the defending champion New York Yankees started 47-42, finding themselves in fourth place, 14 games behind the white-hot Boston Red Sox. But the Yankees went on a tear, the Red Sox kept tripping over their own dicks, and by September 13 the Yankees had moved into first. At the season's end the Yankees won six straight to maintain a one-game lead, but stumbled on the final day of the season, falling back into a tie with Boston, thus necessitating a 163rd game.

Boston starting pitcher Mike Torrez was nursing a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning of the tiebreaker. New York's Graig Nettles flied out to right to lead off the inning, but Torrez then gave up singles to Chris Chambliss and Roy White to put runners on first and second with one out. Jim Spencer came on the pinch hit for Brian Doyle, but he flied out to left, bringing up Dent, the number 9 hitter in the Yankee lineup. Dent fouled a 1-1 pitch off his own leg and was having it looked at in the on-deck circle when teammate Mickey Rivers called out to him.

"Hey, homey, you have the wrong bat. That one's cracked."

The batboy fetched a new bat and Dent got back into box, whereupon he lifted Torrez's next offering high above the Green Monster, Fenway Park's 37-foot high left field wall. The Yankees were suddenly up 4-2 thanks to a man who prior to that moment had hit 22 home runs in 2,927 plate appearances. Less than an hour later the Yankees had won the game 5-4 and the American League East.

Dent was useless in the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals, but the Yankees still won 3 games to 1 to take the American League pennant. In the World Series Dent started raking, going 10-for-24 with 7 runs batted in as the Yankees for the second season in a row defeated the Dodgers in the World Series and Dent was named Series MVP.

That remarkable October, coupled with his moviestar looks, made Dent a household name and led to what is certainly the highlight of his career, a supporting role in the 1979 made-for-TV film The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, co-starring Jane Seymour, Bert Convey and Lauren Tewes. You can watch it in its entirety below--you're welcome.


Related Articles