Robert Ray Buhl
Born: August 12, 1928, Saginaw, MI
Signed: Signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent, August 30, 1946
Major League Teams: Milwaukee Braves 1953-1962; Chicago Cubs 1962-1966; Philadelphia Phillies 1966-1967
Died: February 16, 2001, Titusville, FL (age 72)
In parts of 15 seasons in the National League, Bob Buhl was an 18-game winner twice (1956 and 1957) and won a World Series ring with the Braves in 1957. His best seasons came with the Braves, as part of a strong pitching rotation that also included Warren Spahn (#205) and Lew Burdette (#64) and he was an All-Star in 1960. Between 1953 and 1960, Buhl finished in the top ten in the league for ERA six times, and he finished within the top ten for complete games four times.
Following his successful 10-year run with the Braves, Buhl spent five seasons with the Cubs and then was traded to the Phillies in one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history. He retired part-way through the 1967 season, having compiled a career record of 166-132 with 111 complete games and 1,268 strikeouts.
Building the Set
December 7, 2019 from King of Prussia, PA - Card #26
We were up to 11 cards for our 1965 Topps set, and I honestly had it in mind that I wanted to purchase one fairly major "star" card during our remaining time at the Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show inside the Valley Forge Casino. The showroom floor was packed as we were now into the early afternoon and autograph guests were showing up every 15 minutes or so. The PA announcer would call out ticket numbers in groups of 10 all while imploring collectors to back away from the entrance that led into the autograph signing area.
That was the backdrop when we came upon the table for MJW Collectibles out of Somerdale, NJ. This dealer had a bunch of 1960s Topps binders spread out, and the sign on the 1965 Topps binder caught my eye - ALL CARDS $1. And with Doug's help, I dug in.
Having been aware of Buhl's 1967 Topps card for a while, he always spooked me a little and I have to imagine it would have been tough to dig in against the 6'2" pitcher. His four shutouts in 1959 gave him a seven-way tie for first place in the league with Roger Craig (#411), Burdette, Sam Jones, Don Drysdale (#260), Spahn and Johnny Antonelli.
Cubs Team Set
Buhl went 13-11 in 31 starts for the Cubs finishing behind Larry Jackson (#420) and Dick Ellsworth (#165) for the team lead in wins as the latter two pitchers both had 14. His SABR biography points out that at 36 years old, Buhl was averaging only six innings per start and he clashed with manager Lou Klein. He started only two games after August 27th, and got hit hard in both of them. He finished the season with a 4.39 ERA, having pitched 184 1/3 innings.
The Phillies acquired Buhl and Jackson from the Cubs on April 21, 1966 for prospects John Herrnstein (#534), Fergie Jenkins and Adolfo Phillips. Jenkins of course would go on to enjoy a Hall of Fame career. Buhl was used as a spot starter and long reliever all season, appearing in 32 games and making 18 starts. He finished the year with a 6-8 record and a 4.77 ERA. His best performance came on June 22nd when he pitched a complete game victory against his former team, the Braves.
Buhl appeared in only three games for the Phillies in 1967, pitching 2 2/3 innings with an ERA of 13.50. The club released him on May 16, 1967, most likely the same time collectors were adding Buhl's only Phillies baseball card to their collections from packs of 1967 Topps.
First Mainstream Card: 1954 Topps #210
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13): 1954, 1956-1967
Most Recent Mainstream Card: 1994 Topps Archives 1954 #210
68 - Buhl non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 12/28/19.
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database
In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year. Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.