Bucky Dent knows how to beat the Yankees and the Sox. He’s a lifelong fan of both teams and he’s sharing his insights on how to make sure your team comes out on top.
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Bucky Dent’s History
Bucky Dent was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on November 25, 1951. He grew up a Red Sox fan, but he would end up playing for their biggest rivals, the Yankees. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 5th round of the 1970 MLB Draft.
Bucky Dent’s Early Life
Bucky Dent was born in Savannah, Georgia, on December 13, 1951. He was a three-sport star at Hialeah High School in Florida, and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round of the 1969 amateur draft. He played one season of rookie ball for the White Sox before being drafted into the Army in 1970. After his discharge from the Army, he returned to baseball and played two more seasons in the White Sox organization before being traded to the Yankees prior to the 1973 season.
Dent made his major league debut with the Yankees on April 7, 1977, pinch-running for Chris Chambliss in a game against the Baltimore Orioles. He did not appear in another game with the Yankees until June 2, when he pinch-ran for Roy White against the Cleveland Indians. Dent saw limited action with the Yankees over the next few months and was sent back down to Triple-A Syracuse after batting just .167 in 18 games.
Bucky Dent’s Time with the Yankees
Bucky Dent will always be remembered as the player who hit the dramatic home run that ruined the Yankees’ chances of winning the 1978 pennant. But he was much more than just a one-hit wonder. He was a solid hitter and an excellent fielder during his seven seasons with the Yankees, and he played a key role on two World Championship teams.
Born in Savanna, Illinois, Russell Earl Dent was signed by the Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1962. He made his major league debut with the Yankees in 1965, but he didn’t become a regular player until 1968. That year, he hit .248 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs. He also made 18 errors at shortstop, which was one of the reasons why the Yankees decided to move him to third base the following year.
Dent became a fixture at third base for the Yankees during the 1970s. He had his best season in 1977, when he hit .279 with 19 home runs and 84 RBIs. But it was his heroics in 1978 that made him a legend in New York.
Bucky Dent’s Famous Home Run
The Red Sox were leading the Yankees by 14 games in 1978, but the Yankees won the division by beating the Sox in a one-game playoff. The Yankees went on to win the World Series. Bucky Dent’s home run was the turning point in the game.
On October 2, 1978, the Yankees and Red Sox were in a battle for the American League East title. The Yankees were up by a game and a half going into the final game of the season, which was being played at Fenway Park in Boston. The Sox had won seven in a row and were confident they could beat the Yankees and force a one-game playoff.
The Yankees took an early lead, but the Sox fought back and took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth, with two outs and nobody on base, Bucky Dent came to bat. Dent was not known for his power hitting, but he hit a home run off of Mike Torrez that sailed over the Green Monster and gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead. The Yankees went on to win the game and the division title.
In the years after the homer, Dent became a folk hero in Boston. He was mobbed everywhere he went. At Fenway, he got a standing ovation every time he came to bat. In 1978, with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning of a playoff game against the Yankees, Dent came to bat as a pinch hitter. The fans were chanting “We want Bucky! We want Bucky!” The Sox lost the game in extra innings, but Dent’s reputation as a Yankee-killer was cemented.
Dent’s hero status didn’t last long in New York. In the 1981 World Series, he made two errors that helped the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Yankees. He was booed mercilessly by the Yankee fans after that. In 1984, he was released by the Yankees and his career was over.
Today, Dent lives in Florida and runs a baseball camp for kids. He is still revered by Red Sox fans and despised by Yankee fans.
Bucky Dent’s Legacy
As a Sox fan, it still brings me great pain to think about what Bucky Dent did to my team back in 1978. With the game tied in the bottom of the seventh, Dent hit a three-run home run off of Mike Torrez that ultimately won the game for the Yankees. As a Sox fan, I will never forgive him.
His Impact on the Yankees
In an era of free agency and big money contracts, it’s hard to believe that one man could have such an impact on a team, but that’s exactly what Bucky Dent did when he hit his famous home run in 1978.
The Yankees were struggling at the time, and Dent’s home run not only helped them win the game, but it also gave them the boost they needed to make it to the World Series. The Yankees went on to win the Series, and Dent became a hero in New York.
Dent continued to play for the Yankees until his retirement in 1984, and he remains one of the most popular players in team history. His impact on the franchise cannot be overstated, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Yankees of all time.
His Impact on the Red Sox
While most Red Sox fans remember Bucky Dent for his home run that crushed their dreams in 1978, Sox fans of a certain age will always have a place in their hearts for the diminutive shortstop.
Dent was originally drafted by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 1965 amateur draft, but he chose to play college baseball at the University of Florida. He was drafted again by New York in the third round of the 1968 amateur draft and made his major league debut later that year. He became the Yankees’ regular shortstop in 1973, despite hitting just .240/.284/.357.
Dent’s only All-Star appearance came in 1976, when he hit .261/.304/.383 with seven homers and 50 RBIs. But it was in 1978 when Dent really cemented his place in baseball history.
After a slow start to the season, Dent caught fire in September, hitting .417/.481/.708 with four homers and 18 RBIs to help lead the Yankees to a come-from-behind win over the Red Sox in the AL East.
And then, of course, there was Dent’s heroics in Game 163 against Mike Torrez. With the score tied at 2-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Dent came to bat with runners on first and second and launched a go-ahead three-run homer over Fenway’s short porch in left field. The Yankees went on to win 5-4, clinching their third straight division title.
For Dent, 1978 was a career year. He hit .243/.292/.382 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs during the regular season, but he will forever be remembered for what he did in September and October.
Bucky Dent’s Later Life
After his career in baseball, Bucky Dent became a successful businessman. He started a baseball camp for kids and also became a commentator for the Yankees. He has also been inducted into the Yankees Hall of Fame.
His Post-Baseball Career
After his baseball career, Bucky Dent pursued a number of different business ventures. He was one of the original investors in the Florida Marlins and also had a minority stake in the Yankees. In addition, he opened a baseball academy in Delray Beach, Florida.
In 2001, Dent was inducted into the Yankee Stadium Hall of Fame. He currently resides in Austin, Texas with his wife and four children.
Bucky Dent’s post-baseball years were spent coaching, managing in the Yankees organization, and scouting for the Texas Rangers. He also became involved in a number of businesses, including an outdoor advertising company and a sporting goods store. In 1992, he was inducted into the Yankees Hall of Fame.
Dent continued to live in the Austin, Texas area after his retirement from baseball. In 2000, he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. He died on November 13, 2020, at the age of 71.