Sunday, September 1, 2013

WE HARDLY KNEW YA: 1970 #533 BUZZ STEPHEN

What an odd inclusion to the 1970 set card Buzz Stephen (#533) is.
Why Topps decided on this player to include in their set is beyond me.
You see, Stephen's entire career consists of two games pitched for the Minnesota Twins in 1968. A total of 11.1 innings.
He actually got a decision in both games, going 1-1 with a 4.76 E.R.A. But that's hardly enough to justify a card for the guy two years later as a member of a team he never ended up pitching for.
In October of 1968, the fledging Seattle Pilots team selected Stephen as their 9th pick of their expansion draft. It seemed like a decent pick considering not only did 23 year old Buzz make his Major League debut, but he had a solid year in the Minors as well, going 11-9 with a 3.96 E.R.A. at Charlotte in Double-AA ball.
But, as with so many other drafts, many get picked, but few end up in the "big show".
Stephen never made it back up, pitching in the Minors for a couple of more years in the Orioles system before calling it a career.
Yet in 1970, Topps gave Buzz a slot in their set, leaving many to scratch their heads decades later.
2 games, 11.1 innings, and a baseball card for all of eternity.
Not too bad.
I'll never get tired of cards like this…
 
2 games in 1968 got him THIS card in 1970.
 

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