Bill Buckner steps down as coach

Updated: March 4, 2014, 9:47 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former major league star Bill Buckner is stepping down as a minor league hitting coach in the Chicago Cubs organization.

Buckner, 64, who spent the past two seasons with the Boise Hawks of the short-season Class A Northwest League, told reporters he is looking to spend more time with his family.

"Just too much time away," he told the Idaho Statesman. "My wife has put up with it for 30-something years."

Buckner won the 1980 National League batting title and appeared in the 1981 All-Star Game while playing for the Cubs, although he gained infamy for his error for the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

"It goes without saying the type of influence Bill Buckner had on our young hitters the last two years," Hawks manager Gary Van Tol said in a statement. "Hitting is the toughest skill to teach in baseball but Buck kept it simple and consistent. He was at his best in the cage helping players build their swing before the game and in the dugout helping them with their approach and plan during the game. The confidence and progress our hitters showed from the start of the season to the end was a direct reflection on Buck's efforts and the trust he instilled with every hitter he worked with."

Buckner was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, debuting in September the following season. He later was traded to the Cubs, playing for Chicago from 1977 to 1984. He was a career .289 hitter over 22 seasons, including stints with the Red Sox, Angels and Royals, before retiring in 1990.

He went on to become a hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox and held the same position in the minors for Toronto. He also served as manager for Brockton, a Massachusetts team in the independent CanAm league.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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