Thursday, September 26, 2013

WE HARDLY KNEW YA: 1979 #172 MIKE BRUHERT

Anyone else out there have a deep interest in players who's career encompassed a single full year in the Majors, never to appear again?
One of the all-time classics would have to be Henry Schmidt of the 1903 Brooklyn Superbas.
Here's a player that stuck out when you were reading through the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia because of his one year career that consisted of a 22-13 record. One season, 20+ wins, and never to be seen again.
Of course with him there was a simple explanation: he wasn't interested in playing out East since he was making a decent enough living playing in the Pacific League.
So in an age when things were extremely different for professional athletes, Schmidt just packed his stuff and returned to the West coast, enjoying a few more productive seasons before retiring as a pro player.
Today I post up a card of another such player who's career was a single-line in the MacMillan encyclopedia: Mike Bruhert of the 1978 New York Mets.
That season, Bruhert earned a spot on the Mets rotation, starting 22 games while appearing in five more, for a total of 133.2 innings of work.
His final numbers weren't that great, as he tallied a 4-11 record to go along with a 4.78 E.R.A. But at the very least you can say he was a serviceable arm for struggling team. He even threw a shutout against the Philadelphia Phillies in September.
But that was it for him on the big league level. He never made it back to the Majors, even though he did spend four more years in the Minors for the Mets, Rangers and Yankees systems.
All told he spent 12 years in the Minors, and nine of them were for the Mets, appearing in 278 games split between starting and relieving. 
But as a Major Leaguer, it was "one and done" for both his playing career and his baseball card "career".
But all was not lost for Bruhert, as he later became the pitching coach at Fordham University when his playing days were over. He even got a wife out of his professional experience, marrying then New York Mets manager Gil Hodges daughter after meeting her when he first came up in the Met's system in 1971.
Nevertheless, I've always enjoyed cards of players that had that single-line career. I couldn't help but wonder what the stories were behind these players, and I'll be profiling more of these guys in the future.
 
A "One and Done" career captured on cardboard for eternity.
 

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