Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Card #29 (Article 6)
Did I ever share the story about when I was a ten year old kid and I went to Bucky Dent’s house?
If not, this presents as good a time as ever…
After he hit his famous home run against the Red Sox in the 1978 playoff game, and after he was named MVP of the World Series that year, Bucky Dent moved to Wyckoff, New Jersey.
I lived in Midland Park, the next town over… but I lived so close to Wyckoff that that’s where I often played.
Word quickly spread about Bucky Dent living in the area. He lived on Annette Court, just a stone’s throw from my house (well, this was true if you cut through someone’s yard on Sicomac Avenue).
I was ten years old and a famous Yankee was (basically) my neighbor.
And, once we found out where he lived… well, we had to go there and try to meet him.
The world in 1978 was a different place than the world today. A lot different. Whenever I’d have a friend over, I’d announce to my parents, “We’re going to Bucky Dent’s house.” My parents never advised against it…in fact, I think they sort of encouraged it. (When my own sons were ten, I would have never encouraged them to go knock on Derek Jeter’s door…even if he was a neighbor.)
I’d grab a photo from my Yankees photo album or a baseball card, and off we’d go, my friend and I, to see the great Bucky Dent.
We’d get to his house, ring the doorbell…and hope.
Bucky never came to the door. It was always a futile effort.
One time, we quickly wrote a note and asked him if we could start the Bucky Dent Fan Club. Mr. Dent never responded. (If you had seen my penmanship in 1978, it was a good bet that he couldn’t even read what we wrote if he saw the scrap paper at all.)
We all told the same stories that Bucky Dent gave away Reggie Bars on Halloween. I don’t think that was true, but I honestly don’t remember any longer.
I tried and tried and tried to meet Bucky Dent. I must have gone to his house close to a dozen times. I failed every time.
Until, a magical day when, along with my good pal Roger, we went over, rang his doorbell and he answered. BUCKY DENT ANSWERED THE DOOR!
I’m not sure what we said other than, “Can we have your autograph?” I remember Bucky Dent being bigger than life. I also remember seeing a World Series trophy in his house on a shelf behind him.
Bucky accommodated us. He signed my picture. He autographed something for my friend.
Bucky Dent wasn’t mean, but he wasn’t overly friendly either. I do recall him saying something along the lines of, “Don’t come back.” (And, as an adult, looking back, I can’t blame him… the poor guy probably just wanted me and my friends to stop bothering him.)
It mattered little. I had met Bucky Dent! We got his autograph!!!
BUCKY DENT, THE YANKEES HERO!
“I told you he lived there!”
Roger and I ran back to my house. “We did it! We did it! We met Bucky Dent!!!!” We screamed as we arrived. It was a proud moment in my life. I just met Bucky Dent and got his autograph!
My sister, two years older than me, also had a friend over. She said, “Wow, we’ll go too now. If he’s home We want to meet Bucky Dent!”
I remember saying, “No! NO!!! He told us not to come back. I’ll get in trouble!”
My sister dismissed my pleading, “He does not know you.” And off she and her friend went…
A short time later they returned.
Bucky Dent was extremely kind and generous to my sister and her friend…in fact, my sister did me one better – Bucky Dent gave her a black and white signed photo of himself! That’s the way it sometimes was being a younger brother. My sister often got the better of me.
No matter, it was a great day. A great great day.
I MET BUCKY DENT!
Postscript – The story that is often told about Don Zimmer moving into Bucky Dent’s house a number of years later is true. I know it for a fact.
Did I ever tell you the story of when I went to meet Don Zimmer at his house in Wyckoff, New Jersey?
(I’ll tell that story when we get to card #309 in this set, it’s the Red Sox team card featuring ol’ Zim himself.)