Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Russell Earl "Bucky" Dent (b. November 25, 1951), born Russell Earl O'Dey, 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, and was 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.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, 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 future Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio at the position was problematic, however, and in 1977 the White Sox traded him to the Yankees for slugger Oscar Gamble , future Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt , a minor leaguer and $200,000. The Yankees gave him uniform number 20.
Dent's famous home run ended the 1978 season during a one-game playoff with the Yankees' archrivals, the Red Sox. With a fierce wind blowing out to left field, Dent connected with a badly hanging breaking ball pitched by Mike Torrez (who had pitched for the Yankees only the previous season), and hit a pop fly to left that would just clear Fenway Park's Green Monster (310 feet from home plate), giving the Yankees the game and the division title, and thus fulfilling the Sox' Curse of the Bambino. Though Dent was not known as a home run hitter (he hit a grand total of 40 in 12 years in the major leagues), this one home run has come to be the best known instant in Dent's career.
A 3-time All-Star, Dent would remain 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 would return to the Yankees briefly in 1984 (but not playing 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, 40 HRs and 423 RBI.
After retiring as a player, Dent managed in the Yankees' minor league system. He twice served the Yankees as interim manager for the big league club, compiling a 18-22 record in 1989 and a 18-31 record in 1990. In 1992 George Steinbrenner called upon Dent to help train Derek Jeter, the Yankees' first round pick that year.
Most recently, Dent threw out the first pitch to Yankees great Yogi Berra in the 7th and final game of the 2004 American League Championship Series, which was to end poorly for the Yankees, as they lost to the Boston Red Sox 10-3.
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