Monday, November 29, 2010

#458 John Buzhardt

#458 John Buzhardt
There's nothing like a good closeup to ruin the effect of pinstripes. This photo puts the seam where torso and sleeve meet on full display. Of course, pinstripes are best used in moderation. In the 1990s, every team and their mother was shoehorning pinstripes into their uniform designs. The monstrosities that Disney foisted upon the Angels still give me night terrors.

Fun facts about John Buzhardt:

-John was born in Prosperity, SC and signed with Cubs in 1954 out of high school.

-He made his major league debut in September 1958, pitching well in four relief appearances before beating the Dodgers in back-to-back starts. The 21-year-old allowed five hits in each start, twirling a complete game in the first and falling two outs shy of repeating the feat in the second. He finished 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six games.

-Batted only .135 (60-for-445) in his career, but singled off of Sandy Koufax for his first big-league hit.

-He pitched a gem on June 21, 1959, allowing only a second-inning walk to Wally Post and a third-inning single to Carl Sawatski and shutting out the Phillies 4-0. With Post erased via a double play, Buzhardt faced only one batter above the minimum.

-In January 1960, he was one of three players traded to the Phillies for Richie Ashburn. He did not pitch badly in his two seasons in Philadelphia (4.18 cumulative ERA), but the club was atrocious. Their total record was 116-202, and John was saddled with an 11-34 mark.

-On July 28, 1961, Buzhardt five-hit the Giants in the second game of a double header and the Phillies won 4-3. On August 20, he gritted out another complete-game win in the second half of a twinbill, beating the Braves 7-4. In between those two games, the Phils set a modern MLB record by losing 23 straight!

-His fortunes changed in November 1961 when he was traded to the White Sox. After a so-so first season with his new club, the righthander combined for 32 wins, 20 losses and a 2.84 ERA from 1963-1965.

-John slipped to 6-11 with a 3.83 ERA in 1966. Curiously, four of his six wins were shutouts.

-After being passed from Chicago to Baltimore to Houston throughout the second half of the 1967 season, he concluded his career with a 4-4 record, a 3.12 ERA, and 5 saves pitching mostly in relief for the Astros in 1968. Overall, he was 71-96 with a 3.66 ERA in parts of 11 seasons.

-Buzhardt returned home to Prosperity and eventually became a foreman for the Kodak Company. He died in June 2008 at age 71, several years after suffering a stroke.
#458 John Buzhardt (back)

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