Saturday, October 1, 2016

A couple of cases for complete stats on the back

I was sifting through a recent purchase of Heritage High Numbers when I came across two cards that are somewhat related.

The first is of Matt Buschmann in his off-putting Diamondbacks uniform. But you can understand his willingness to wear such garb when you turn the card over.

Check out those complete minor league stats. Isn't that glorious? I used to marvel over the lengthy yearly stats of players with the strange team names when I was a kid. I can't imagine today's world-savvy kids pondering Lake Elsinore as if it's a distant land, but I appreciate the effort here.

The player with the most years in the minors before reaching the majors is former Dodger John Lindsey. But after 16 years in the minors, the only major-issue cards that he appeared on (that I know of) were Allen & Ginter and Bowman -- two sets that don't recognize complete stats. Very disappointing.

If Buschmann never has another card -- he's pitched in three whole games this year -- this one is an ode to his travels to the majors. It tells a story, like any good card should.

OK, the other card:

We've shortened Matt's name from "Buschmann" to "Bush" here, but he's still a pitcher and still features a rookie logo.

And the yearly stats on the back might be even more interesting than the previous card.

Isn't that most disjointed list of career stats you've ever seen?

It actually doesn't feature his complete stats. As you know, Matt Bush was drafted No. 1 overall by the Padres as a hitter in 2004. He started in the minors playing shortstop, but those hitting stats aren't included here, just the stats after he was converted to pitcher.

Bush's backstory is not for the squeamish and littered with alcohol-fueled badness. This card back may set the record for the most "Did Not Play"s in one career stats list. And those "Did Not Play"s gloss over quite a bit.

While the first "Did Not Play - Injured" listing is accurate, the one in 2009 is not. After a couple of alleged assault cases that year, Bush was let go by the Blue Jays. If anything, the 2009 listing should read "Did Not Play - Menace To Society".

The 2012 listing is also not accurate, unless you're talking about the injuries to the motorcycle rider Bush ran over during spring training, which led to the subsequent "Did Not Play"s, and more accurately would read:

2013: Did Not Play - Prison
2014: Did Not Play - Prison
2015: Did Not Play - Prison

Looking at Bush's background it's still a little difficult for me to see him pitching on a baseball mound this year (and I'll probably be seeing him the playoffs). I realize he appears to have turned things around and everyone in that situation should be treated like any other human being, but there's still something in the back of the brain that says "is this going to happen again?"

Good for Topps, though, for creating the card and for giving the guy the recognition he deserves as a regular major leaguer, without dredging up the sordid history. Even without the details, it makes for an intriguing card back, and anyone with an ounce of curiosity will look up the reasons for all the "Did Not Play"s.

I do wish the best for Bush and for Buschmann (just not with the Diamondbacks).

And if it doesn't work out beyond this year, they each have two really awesome card backs.


  1. Buschmann has done well for himself, regardless of his nomadic pro career, as he is married to ESPN sportscaster Sara Walsh.

  2. Bush's career has been a train wreck... but hopefully there's a happy ending to his story. Looks like he's doing pretty well for himself and the Rangers this season. Pretty insane to think that less than a year ago he was sitting in prison.

  3. It's always good to see people like Buschmann make the Majors. He spent some time in Durham with the Bulls. While he was not the most talented player on the team he worked his tail off and I am glad to see someone gave him a few games in the Bigs. Cool to see him on a card too. As for Bush, I'm always happy to see people turn themselves around. He's made some pretty terrible mistakes in his life, but everyone deserves a second chance. Hopefully he makes the most of it and can keep himself clean and sober.

  4. Topps short-changed Joe Strong as well back in 2000 when he debuted after 16 years in the minors.