Saturday, June 5, 2010

#23 - Bubba Church

It looks like the picture on this card from Bowman 1955 was taken at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Dodger fans can help me out here, but I believe that the scoreboard over his right shoulder is from Ebbets.

Your given name is "Emory" and your nickname is "Bubba." So which do you go with? Tough choice!

Mr. Church went with Bubba. As far as I can tell, he is the only "Bubba" to play for the Cubs. Bubba came to the Cubs from the Reds in June, 1953. Assigned #33, he went 4-5 with a 5.00 ERA. Church somehow made the team the next season and was given #23. His new number didn't help his pitching numbers; he was 1-3 with a 9.82 ERA. In late May he was sent to AAA and spent the rest of the season in LA. He had good numbers there, going 11-9.

In 1955, it was the same story. He made the team out of Arizona, but didn't do well. He was used in only two games (no record, 5.40 ERA) before being sent back to AAA again. This time, he was there for good, never returning to the big leagues.

While Church was in the minors during the 1954 season, pitcher Dave Cole wore #23. Cole was 3-8 with a 5.36 ERA and was sold to the Phillies during spring training 1955. #23 went back to Bubba Church. Cole never had a Cubs card issued during his brief time with Chicago.


  1. An awful lot of the 1955 Bowman cards had pictures taken at Shibe Park in Philadelphia (Bowman's HQ city), home of both the A's and the Phillies then. While the antenna in the back of the card is a dead giveaway for many photos, it doesn't show up in the Church card.

  2. I just looked at some other pictures of Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium and that picture of Church definitely wasn't taken there. It may have been Brooklyn...that thing at the top of the scoreboard does appear to be the Bulova clock they used at Ebbets Field.

  3. If it's Schaefer, then it's definitely Ebbets Field. That was the identifying feature of the scoreboard there, with the round Bulova clock above it.