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#323 John Buzhardt

07/04/2009

323 John Buzhardt323 John Buzhardt back

When you’re making a “hobby grade” set, you’re going to end up with a few clunkers in your collection. This is one of mine. It’s badly off-center, devoid of any original gloss, scratched up on the surface, creased, battered, beaten, etc. But it’s the real deal, and that’s all that matters. Buzhardt is a common card, and as a low-number an NM example lists for $8 in SMR. Mine is probably in the G range, though it has no serious creases nor any paper loss.

The trivia question asks who the Red Sox’ leader in home runs was in 1963. As you can see (since it’s rubbed off), the answer is Dick Stuart, whose 42 also ranked him 2nd in the AL. He led the league in RBI with 118. Strangely, he wasn’t in the All-Star Game that season. Joe Pepitone and Nick Siebern were the first basemen for the AL that year (neither had as good of a year offensively as Stuart).

John Buzhardt was, in terms of ERA+, an ever-so-slightly below average pitcher for his MLB career, which lasted 11 seasons. His biggest claim to fame is that he was the winning pitcher immediately before and after the Phillies’ 23-game losing streak in 1961. He was also one of three players (along with Alvin Dark and Jim Woods) traded to the Phillies for Hall-of-Famer Richie Ashburn before the 1960 season.

Buzhardt spent five full seasons and most of another with the White Sox, to whom he was traded after the 1961 season. He actually proved to be a pretty effective pitcher over the three-year span of 1963-65. During that period he was 32-20 with a 2.84 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 18 complete games. He struggled in 1966 and ’67, and was sent to Baltimore and later Houston, where he wrapped up his career with an above-average season in 1968.

For his career, his W-L record was only 71-96, but his ERA+ was 97. His two years in Philly killed him in terms of his record. In 1960 he put up a respectable 3.86 ERA (exactly the adjusted league average), but had a record of 5-16. He was 6-18 in 1961 for a Phillies team that only won 47 games (a year Robin Roberts would also like to forget, as he was 1-10 with a 5.85 ERA).

Buzhardt never pitched in a postseason game or made an All-Star team. He was used out of the bullpen late in the ’64 season and pitched well, but the White Sox ended up losing the pennant by one game to the Yankees.

He died on June 18, 2008 at the age 71.

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