Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Zero-Year Cards, Part 30

2002 Fleer Tradition Update #U268 Bud Smith (Phillies)

This is the second time I've mentioned Bud Smith on this blog.

That's got to be some sort of record.

Smith is one of the more obscure guys I collect. For a while, though, he was anything but. 

On September 3, 2001, he tossed a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. I have to believe that it was one of the more unlikely no-nos in baseball history, given the fact that Smith was a "Quadruple A" player for the Cardinals that season, constantly going back and forth between the minors and majors that year.

While I don't actually remember the day that Smith threw the no-hitter (I was only nine), I have to believe that Smith became a sensation around the baseball world afterwards. It's like that any time a no-hitter occurs, especially when a rookie tosses one. 

No-hitter aside, Smith had a pretty good season in '01, going 6-3 with a 3.83 ERA, good for fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

That's where the fairy tale ends.

After the last time I mentioned Bud Smith, I did a little research on him. I don't know that a career has ever had a quicker and painful downturn in baseball history.

Smith began to have labrum problems after the '01 season. He went just 1-5 with an awful 6.94 ERA in 10 starts in 2002. He'd make his final appearance with the Cardinals on July 19 of that year, in a start against the Pirates.

It would be the last time he'd pitch in the majors, less than a year after he shocked the baseball world.

He was dealt to the Phillies in July of '02 in the deal that brought Scott Rolen to St. Louis. He toiled in the Phillies' and Twins' minor league systems during the next few years without reaching the majors, hence his "zero-year" card above.

Smith retired in 2007, after playing a couple years with an independent league team.

Guys like Bud Smith who had that one brief moment of glory interest me much more than a Derek Jeter or Albert Pujols sometimes. We hear names like Roy Halladay or Matt Kemp on an everyday basis, which is fine. Players with that kind of talent deserve to be recognized.

But let's not forget the likes of Bobo Holloman or Juan Nieves. They'll always have their place in the baseball record books. They had that one great moment of glory that their grandkids will hear about, or have probably already heard about, in the case of Holloman.

Let's not forget about guys like Bud Smith.

1 comment:

Cory said...

His minor league numbers before he was called up suggested a future Greg Maddux.