Bill Buckner is back in baseball.
Buckner, a Napa High School graduate who had a 22-year major league career, will be the manager for the Brockton (Mass.) Rox of the Can-Am League for the 2011 season. Brockton is an independent ballclub.
“I’m excited to spend the summer back in Massachusetts with the Rox,” Buckner said on the team’s website Tuesday. “I’ve been looking forward to getting back into baseball, and it should be a good summer.”
Buckner played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, California Angels and Kansas City Royals, totaling 2,715 hits, 498 doubles and 1,208 RBIs, in a big league career that spanned from 1969 to 1990. He was a left-handed hitting first baseman-outfielder-designated hitter.
He finished with a .289 career batting average and 174 home runs.
He was the National League batting champion with a .324 average in 1980 and was an NL All-Star in 1981. His final game was May 30, 1990 for the Red Sox.
“It’s a great day to have Bill Buckner join our organization,” said Brockton CEO Chris Carminucci. “He’s well-known and well-respected by New England sports fans, and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the game. Our fans and players are in for a great experience in 2011.”
Buckner, 61, played in the World Series with the Dodgers in 1974 and the Boston Red Sox in 1986. He was a second-round pick of the Dodgers in the 1968 draft out of Arizona State.
He is known as one of the great hitters to play major league baseball, twice collecting more than 200 hits in a season and was the doubles leader in two different seasons.
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Buckner, a Boise, Idaho resident, was the hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox from 1996 to 1997.
Brockton made the Can-Am League playoffs for the fifth time in the club’s history last year. Baseball America named three Rox players to its All-Independent Team.
Can-Am League teams play a 94-game schedule, starting Memorial Day and continuing until Labor Day.
Buckner, a 1968 Napa High graduate who was both a football and baseball star for the Indians, was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame at Arco Arena in Sacramento last fall. Buckner was part of the Sac-Joaquin’s inaugural Hall of Fame class.
On the football field, Buckner was a two-time all-state wide receiver, receiving many scholarship offers. But it was on the baseball field where he really shined, as he was the 1967 Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Baseball.
He was inducted into the Napa High Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
At Napa High, Buckner gave some indication of things to come by hitting .667 in 1967 and .529 in 1968.
His name is still in the NHS record books for reception yards in a season (579), career reception yards (963), and most receptions in a career (61).
He was named to the Coaches All-American football team two years in a row.