SAGINAW COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME

ROBERT R. BUHL



                         
Bob Buhl was born August 12, 1928, in Saginaw and

attended Saginaw High School where he played football,

basketball, and baseball.  He was to graduate in June of

1946 but lacked credits to earn a diploma.  He finally

received his diploma in June of 1947 since Saginaw did

not stage mid-year commencement exercises.  It was on

the baseball diamond where Buhl excelled because of his

strong right arm.  The 6-2, 180 pounder signed his first

professional contract with the Chicago White Sox in August of 1946.  In his first season (1947), he won 19 games and lost 10 for Madisonville, Kentucky, in the Class D Kitty League.  On February 27, 1948, he was declared a free agent by then-Commissioner A.B. “Happy” Chandler who ruled that the White Sox had signed Buhl illegally before completing his high school education.  One day after being declared a free agent Buhl signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, a Triple-A farm club of the Boston Braves.  The Brewers optioned Buhl to the Saginaw Bears of the Class A Central League.  The 19-year-old became the workhorse of the Bears’ staff with an 11-12 record.  He then shifted to Harford, Connecticut, in the stronger Class A Eastern League.  The following year he was 8-8 but was still promoted too Dallas of the Double-A Texas League.  He was just 5-10 with Dallas but his ERA was among the league’s best.  The Braves ordered him to report to their spring camp but he was drafted into military service.  Buhl played for the Fort Campbell, Kentucky, baseball team for two years while serving in the 457th Airborne Field Artillery battalion as a paratrooper.  His army team won the state title ad he was voted MVP.  When he was discharged he reported to the Braves spring training camp.  A strong spring earned him a trip north.  His first major league start was May 12, 1952, when he allowed the New York Giants only two hits in a 6-1 victory.  He has a sparkling 13-6 record during his rookie campaign and a fine 2.96 earned-run-average, third best in the league.  Buhl has a strong career with the Milwaukee Braves as he formed a big threesome with Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette.  He helped pitch the Braves to the 1957 World Series championship, and Buhl also pitched in the 1960 All-star game.  In 1961, the eight-year veteran had the finest won-loss percentage of any active pitcher in the National League as he earned 100 major league wins against 61 losses for a .621 winning percentage.  He finished his career by hurling for both the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies.  Buhl’s major league career spanned 15 seasons and he attained a won-loss record of 166-132, including back-to-back 18-win seasons in 1956-57.  He was also known for his non-hitting ability as he once went to bat 87 times without a hit.  At the time his major league batting average was .086 based upon 615 times at bat.  He moved to the Mio area and then retired to Florida.  Buhl died February 16, 2001, at the age of 72 in Titusville, Florida.

CLASS OF 2002