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.