Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Final Card: Buster Narum

Les "Buster" Narum was born in Philadelphia in 1940. He also attended high school in Clearwater, FL. That's 2 links to the Philadelphia Phillies, although he never played for them.

Buster was signed by the Orioles in 1958, and spent 6 seasons in their farm system, mostly as a starting pitcher. Although he appeared in 7 games for the Orioles in 1963, he was traded to the Senators in March 1964 for a player to be named later (Lou Piniella).

Narum spent 2 full seasons with the Senators in 1964-65 as a key member of their starting rotation. He appeared in 84 games over that span, but compiled records of 9-15 and 4-12 (in his defense, it WAS the Senators!).

(Buster demonstrates his "Live long and prosper" grip!)

For whatever reason, his big-league career evaporated after that. He spent most of the next 2 seasons pitching for the Nats' triple-A team in Hawaii (hey, if you've gotta play in triple-A, that's the place to do it!), while making token appearances in Washington: 3 innings with a 21.60 ERA in 1966, and 2 games in 1967.

In February 1968, Buster was part of a 6-player trade with the White Sox, but spent the entire season at triple-A Buffalo (quite an adjustment from Hawaii). His final season was 1969, toiling with the Cardinals' AAA team in Tulsa, OK.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Final Card: Bob Heffner

This is the third and last card for Bob Heffner. I wonder if Bob is related to Reds' manager Don Heffner, or maybe to man-about-town Hugh Hefner? (True, Bob's name is spelled differently than Hugh's, but Topps has been known to goof up spelling players' names, such as 1965's Jim Katt, and countless Charlie/Charley mix-ups).

Heffner (Bob, not Hugh) was signed by the Red Sox, and spent 6 1/2 seasons in the minors (including playing for his hometown Allentown (PA) Red Sox in 1959 and 1960) before making his major-league debut in June 1963. As a rookie, Bob was Boston's #4 starter, but the following season he transitioned to the bullpen and was the team's #2 reliever behind closer Dick Radatz.

1965 saw Heffner's performance slip, and included a return to the minors (after staying with the Sox for all of 1964).

After the 1965 season, Bob was selected by the Indians in the Rule 5 draft, but split the 1966 season between Cleveland and the minors. After just 1 season, the Indians sold him to the Mets, who flipped him to the Angels before the start of the 1967 season. He spent all of 1967 with the Angels' triple-A team in Seattle, and only pitched 7 games for the Angels in 1968, the last coming on May 28th.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Final Card: Larry Bearnarth

This is the 4th and final Topps card for Larry Bearnarth (#464).

Larry was signed by the Mets in 1962, and after only one season at triple-A Syracuse (where he fashioned a 2-13 record as a starting pitcher), he made his major-league debut with the Mets on April 16, 1963. During his rookie season, he was one of the Mets' top 3 workhorses in the bullpen (along with Galen Cisco and Jay Hook), pitching 126 innings in 58 games.

In 1964 Larry was the #2 man in the 'pen behind one-year wonder Bill Wakefield. Over the next 2 seasons, Bearnarth again was a member of the Mets' relief corps, but his playing time decreased somewhat, and he spent a portion of both '65 and '66 in the minors.

Larry's last game for the Mets was a 1-inning appearance on August 7th, 1966 against the Cardinals. He would spend the next 4 seasons pitching for the Mets' triple-A teams in Jacksonville (1967-68) and Tidewater (1969-70) as a starter and reliever.

Although Larry's last card appeared in 1966, he did resurface in the majors in 1971 with the Brewers for 2 games. His 18.00 ERA brought a quick return to Milwaukee's triple-A team for the remainder of the season. He also pitched 3 games in 1972 for the Expos' triple-A team before retiring.

Bearnarth later became a pitching coach - I think for the Expos.