Monday, May 31, 2010
Nitty Gritty Old vs New
I love baseball history! If you are reading this blog, you probably do, too. Like most kids I was initially drawn to the home run king Hank Aaron. I wanted to read everything I could about Hammerin’ Hank and from there I learned about Eddie Mathews and then Spahn and Sain and pray for rain. As I got older I became friends with Johnny Sain and he filled me in on A LOT about the Braves teams of the 40s. Johnny Sain went to the World Series with the Boston Braves in 1948, but was on the losing end against the Indians. He won three rings as a pitcher, but those came with the Yankees. In 1957 when the Braves won it all it was a three man rotation of Spahn, Lew Burdette and Bob Buhl. The first picture I ever saw of Buhl was on his 1961 Topps card which is incidentally one of the Nitty Gritty Card(s) of the Day today. After seeing this card I instantly gave this great pitcher a nickname, Bug Eyed Buhl. This edition of Nitty Gritty Old Vs. New is card #145 from 1961 Topps of Bug Eyed Bob Buhl going up against card #145 of Jair Jurrjens from 2010 Topps Heritage. Old Bug Eye was an 18 game winner for the ’57 Braves. Along with Spahn and Burdette he anchored the starting rotation that led them to the NL Pennant. When the World Series came, his luck had run out. He started two games, but lasted just 3 innings, serving up a couple of homers. Of course the Braves won it all despite Buhl, but he got a ring just the same. Buhl was most dominant as a member of the Braves, but his career lasted 15 years. He was 166-132 with 1268 strikeouts and a 3.55 ERA and a very unfortunate photo on his ’61 Topps card. His best years came with the Braves, but Phillies fans remember him in infamy. At the start of the 1966 season the Cubs sent Buhl and Larry Jackson to the Phillies for three young players including a pitcher named Fergie Jenkins. He won 6 games for Philadelphia and retired the next year. Of course Jenkins went on to a little bit more successful… The modern counterpart of Buhl’s card is of current Braves starter Jair Jurrjens. So far this year Jair ain’t doing too well. He is 0-3 with a 6.38 ERA in 5 starts. Jair wins this battle in having a more flattering photo, but as always vintage wins the war. Bug Eyed Buhl 1, downhill sliding Jair 0. I love this hobby! 49 years LATER!