Bucky Dent

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Bucky Dent
Bucky Dent signs autographs.jpg
Dent in 2010.
Shortstop
Born: (1951-11-25) November 25, 1951 (age 62)
Savannah, Georgia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 1, 1973 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 11, 1984 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
Batting average .247
Home runs 40
Runs batted in 423
Teams

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent (born Russell Earl O'Dey; November 25, 1951),[1] is a former American Major League Baseball player and manager. He earned two World Series rings as the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees in 1977 and 1978, and was voted the World Series MVP in 1978. Dent is most famous for his home run in a tie-breaker game against the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 1978 season.

Early life[edit]

Dent was born 25 November 1951, in Savannah, Georgia, to Dennis O'Dey and Russell "Shorty" Stanford.[2] He went home from the hospital with his mother's brother and his wife, James Earl and Sarah Dent. He and his half-brother were raised by the Dents, and they changed his last name to "Dent", but his mother would not allow them to legally adopt. He and his half-brother were led to believe the Dents' were their biological parents, until he was ten years old.[1] Dent was told the woman he knew as his aunt was in fact his mother.[2] Later in life, he was told the name of his father, whom he then found, thus sparking and developing a relationship.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Born in Savannah, Georgia, Dent grew up in Sylvania, Georgia, and Hialeah, Florida, graduating from Hialeah High School. Dent was the sixth pick in the 1970 major league draft. By the age of 21, he was playing shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. He wore uniform number 30 on the White Sox. The pressure of succeeding Luis Aparicio at the position was problematic, however, and in 1977 the White Sox traded him to the Yankees for Oscar Gamble, LaMarr Hoyt, a minor leaguer and $200,000.[3] The Yankees gave him uniform number 20.

1978[edit]

Dent is widely remembered for hitting a three-run homer that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the 1978 AL East division playoff game against the Boston Red Sox. It was notable because he was not known as a power hitter, having hit just 40 home runs in 12 years in the major leagues, and occupying the ninth spot in the batting order. The Yankees went on to win the game 5-4, securing the division title in the process.

Dent batted .417 in the 1978 World Series, earning Series Most Valuable Player honors as the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, four games to two.

1979–1984[edit]

A three-time All-Star, Dent remained the Yankees' shortstop until 1982, when he was traded to the Texas Rangers for outfielder Lee Mazzilli. On the Rangers, his uniform number was 7. Dent returned to the Yankees briefly in 1984 (but never played a game) before finishing his career that season with the Kansas City Royals, wearing uniform number 21. He retired having spent his full 12-year playing career in the American League, with a .247 batting average and 423 RBI.

Post-career activities[edit]

After retiring as a player, Dent managed in the Yankees' minor-league system, notably with the Columbus Clippers. He served the Yankees as manager of the big-league club for portions of two seasons, compiling an 18–22 record in 1989 and an 18–31 record in 1990. In 1989 Dent opened a baseball school at Delray Beach, Florida, which featured a miniature version of Fenway Park.[4] Although Dent had his greatest moment as a player at Fenway Park, his worst moment also came at Fenway Park when he was fired as manager of the Yankees.[5] Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe criticized Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner for firing Dent in Boston and said he should "have waited until the Yankees got to Baltimore" to fire Dent.[6] He said that "if Dent had been fired in Seattle or Milwaukee, this would have been just another event in an endless line of George's jettisons. But it happened in Boston and the nightly news had its hook".[6] He also said that "the firing was only special because...it's the first time a Yankee manager...was purged on the ancient Indian burial grounds of the Back Bay".[6]

From 1991 to 1994, Dent served on the coaching staff of the St. Louis Cardinals under manager Joe Torre, moving to the coaching staff of the Texas Rangers from 1995 to 2001.

In 2002, Dent served as the manager for the Omaha Royals, the Triple A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.

In 2003, when the Green Monster seats were added to Fenway Park, Dent attended the first game and sat in a Green Monster seat that was very near to where his 1978 home run landed. No animosity was displayed towards him by Red Sox fans at that game, who were all cordial to him.

Dent threw out the first pitch to Yogi Berra in the seventh and final game of the 2004 American League Championship Series.

In November 2005, Dent became the bench coach for the Cincinnati Reds. The Cincinnati Reds released Dent on July 3, 2007; just a few days after releasing manager Jerry Narron. At the time, the Reds had the worst record in Major League Baseball.

He now lives in South Florida with his wife Marianne and four children, Scott Russell, Stacy Lynn and twins Cody Joseph and Caitlin Ann.

Non-baseball work[edit]

In 1979, Dent posed for a pin-up poster. That year he also appeared in the TV movie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, portraying a Cowboys wide receiver who was the love interest of Jane Seymour's character. He also appeared in the September 1983 issue of Playgirl magazine wearing a swimsuit.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Schudel, Matt (1990-09-02). "The Luck of Bucky Dent". Sun-Sentinel. p. 6. 
  2. ^ a b "Finding his Father". Eugene Register-Guard. 1978-12-15. p. 19. 
  3. ^ UPI (6 April 1977). "Yankees finally land Buck Dent". Wilmington Morning Star. p. 1C. Retrieved 30 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Grand opening of Little Fenway gets national attention". Boca Raton News. March 22, 1989. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Cafardo, Nick (June 7, 1990). "Dent Dumped by Yankees". Boston Globe. p. 37. "Dent's greatest moment as a player—and his worst moment as a manager—came in Boston." 
  6. ^ a b c Shaughnessy, Dan (June 7, 1990). "His Back Was Against the Wall". The Boston Globe. p. 37. 

External links[edit]