Monday, November 25, 2013

WHEN A NO-HIT PITCHER TRANSFORMS INTO A NO-HIT CATCHER...THE 1975 STEVE BUSBY CARD

Though I have always loved Topps 1975 set, I would never claim it to be "perfect".
Case in point is card #120, Steve Busby.
If you knew players well enough when this card came out, you would have thought Busby looked a little different, and you would be absolutely correct.
As many of you already know, Topps made a mistake and ended up using a picture of battery-mate Fran Healy for the Steve Busby card.
It also happened on another card in the set which I will profile at a later date, but for today let's go ahead and look at the "mistake", and also design a "correct" version of the card:

As issued by Topps, showing catcher Fran Healy instead of Busby.


That's the real Steve Busby on my re-design.

At the time of this error (which Topps never bothered to correct by the way), Busby really was an up and coming star with all the promise in the world.
He came up as a full-time player in 1973 and finished third in Rookie of the Year in the American League with a 16-15 record and 4.23 earned run average. On top of that he even threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers on April 27th, ironically enough with Fran Healy as his catcher.
In 1974 he was even better, going 22-14 with a 3.39 earned run average, and once again throwing a no-hitter, this time on June 19th against the Milwaukee Brewers.
And guess who his catcher was? That's right, none other than Fran Healy!
I guess if you're going to have someone else depicted on your card, it may as well be the guy who called balls and strikes for you during BOTH of your no-hitters, right?!
In 1975 Busby continued to shine on the mound, as he managed to lower his E.R.A. even more, down to 3.08 with an 18-12 record over 260.1 innings.
But sadly, in early 1976 Busby was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, and underwent one of the first rotator cuff surgeries in baseball history, if not the very first.
When he came back it was evident that the surgery didn't help much, and even though he pitched until the 1980 season, he only managed about 220 innings across those last five years, calling it a career at the young age of 30.
All told, Busby retired with a record of 70-54 with a 3.72 E.R.A., and was eventually elected to the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.
But sadly because of injuries he was never able to fulfill that promising career that seemed to be developing in the mid-70's.

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