Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent (born Russell Earl O'Dey; November 25, 1951) is an American former 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, both over the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games, and he 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 Fenway Park at the end of the 1978 regular season.
Dent in 2010.
|Shortstop / Manager|
|Born: November 25, 1951|
|June 1, 1973, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 11, 1984, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||423|
|Career highlights and awards|
Born in Savannah, Georgia, to Denise O'Dey and Russell "Shorty" Stanford, Dent went home from the hospital with his mother's brother James Earl Dent, and James' wife, Sarah. Bucky and his half-brother were raised by the Dents, who 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. Dent was told the woman he knew as his aunt was in fact his mother. Later in life, he was told the name of his father, whom he then found, thus sparking and developing a relationship.
Dent grew up in Sylvania, Georgia, and Hialeah, Florida, graduating from Hialeah High School. The sixth overall pick in the 1970 MLB draft out of high school, by the age of 21 he was playing shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, wearing uniform number 30. The pressure of succeeding Luis Aparicio at the position was problematic, and the White Sox traded him to the Yankees in early April 1977 for Oscar Gamble, LaMarr Hoyt, a minor leaguer, and $200,000. The Yankees gave him uniform number 20 and they went on to win the World Series that year.
In 1978, Dent is widely remembered for hitting a three-run home run that gave the Yankees a 3–2 lead in the AL East division tie-breaker game against the Boston Red Sox. This was all the more remarkable because Dent was not a power hitter; his seventh-inning home run was one of only 40 he hit in his entire 12-year career. Further, Dent occupied the ninth spot in the batting order, not generally considered a power slot, and did it with a bat borrowed from center fielder Mickey Rivers. The Yankees went on to win the game 5–4 for the division title; Boston was left out of the playoffs, after squandering one of the largest July leads in major league history. A generation of Red Sox fans have since referred to him as "Bucky Fucking Dent."
Dent continued his unusually high production by batting .417 (10–24, 7 RBI) in the World Series, earning Series Most Valuable Player honors, as the Yankees again defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
A three-time All-Star, Dent remained the Yankees' shortstop until 1982, when he was traded to the Texas Rangers in August for outfielder Lee Mazzilli. During his six years with the Yankees, Dent lived in a home in Wyckoff, New Jersey, that he later rented to Don Zimmer.
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 spent his entire 12-year playing career in the American League, with a .247 batting average and 423 RBI.
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. Owner George Steinbrenner only hired Dent as a stopgap, and didn't believe he could lead the Yankees back to postseason play. He intended to replace Dent with Billy Martin at the earliest opportunity in 1990, but those plans were brought undone when Martin died in a car accident on Christmas Day 1989.
In 1989 Dent opened a baseball school at Delray Beach, Florida, which featured a miniature version of Fenway Park. 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. Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe criticized Steinbrenner for firing Dent in Boston and said he should "have waited until the Yankees got to Baltimore" to fire Dent. 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". 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".
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.
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.
In 1979, Dent posed for a pin-up poster. That year he also appeared in the TV movie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, portraying a wide receiver who was the love interest of one of the cheerleaders. He also appeared in the September 1983 issue of Playgirl magazine wearing a swimsuit.
In 2014, Dent made a cameo as a father in the feature film Walt Before Mickey.
He now lives in Lake Worth, Florida. His wife Marianne died on October 22, 2015; they were the parents of four children. One of his daughters, Caitlin, played softball at North Carolina State from 2010–2013, and was an assistant coach for the Hofstra softball team during the 2015 season, while Cody Dent played baseball at Florida.
- "Bucky Dent ignites Yankee win". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. October 3, 1978. p. 17.
- Reiter, Ben (July 13, 2008). "Bucky Dent". Sports Illustrated. (Where are they now?). p. 92.
- "Finding his Father". The Register-Guard. December 15, 1978. p. 19.
- Schudel, Matt (September 2, 1990). "The Luck of Bucky Dent". Sun-Sentinel. p. 6. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "Baseball uniforms through the years". Sports Illustrated. August 11, 2009. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
- "Yankees finally land Buck Dent". Wilmington Morning Star. (North Carolina). UPI. April 6, 1977. p. 1C.
- "Yankees strengthen team with trade". Beaver County Times. (Pennsylvania). UPI. April 6, 1977. p. D2.
- "Dent traded to Yanks". Toledo Blade. Associated Press. April 6, 1977. p. 31.
- Graves, Gary (October 17, 2003). "For Boston, ousting rivals would be sweet". USA Today. p. 4C.
- "Yanks make it all the way back". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. October 18, 1978. p. 1B.
- Fimrite, Ron (October 30, 1978). "The Yankee D boys did double duty". Sports Illustrated. p. 76.
- "Yankees strike again, Mazzilli replaces Dent". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 9, 1982.
- Hague, Jim (July 22, 2000). "Former Yankee hero greets Clemente youngsters; Dent conducts clinic in downtown Jersey City". The Hudson Reporter. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
Being here in New Jersey means a lot to me, because I used to live here [in Wyckoff, when he was with the Yankees] for six years.
- Vaccaro, Mike (2007). Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry Between the Yankees and Red Sox, From the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse. Random House. p. 4. ISBN 9780307418951. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
By 1983, Dent had been traded away to the Texas Rangers, though he still owned a house in Wyckoff, New Jersey, which he rented out during the season. That year, the lease belonged to the man who’d recently been hired as the Yankees’ third-base coach, a baseball lifer named Don Zimmer, the same man who’d been the Red Sox manager on October 2, 1978, and whose professional fate was irreversibly sealed with that one swing of Dent's bat.
- "Bucky Dent". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
- Pennington, Bill (2016) . Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius (Kindle version of first Mariner Books ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-544-02294-2.
- "Grand opening of Little Fenway gets national attention". Boca Raton News. March 22, 1989. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- 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.
- Shaughnessy, Dan (June 7, 1990). "His Back Was Against the Wall". The Boston Globe. p. 37.
- Shaughnessy, Dan (2005). Reversing the Curse. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 206–207. ISBN 0-618-51748-0.
- "Caitlin Dent Bio – NC State University Official Athletic Site". gopack.com. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
- "SB: Anderson Adds Two To Coaching Staff". Hofstra University.
- "Cody Dent". gatorzone.com. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2014-04-22.