Robert Ray Buhl (August 12, 1928 – February 16, 2001) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played with the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies. His last name rhymes with "fuel".
A native of Saginaw, Michigan, in a 15-year career Buhl posted a 166–132 record with 1288 strikeouts and a 3.55 ERA in 2587 innings. He pitched 111 complete games and compiled 20 shutouts. He was first signed to a major league contract in 1953 by Milwaukee Braves scout Earle W. Halstead.
Buhl compiled an 8–1 record against the National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956, en route to an 18-win season. He repeated as an 18-game winner the following year, helping the Braves capture NL pennants in both 1957 and 1958 as the third starter behind Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette.
In 1959, Buhl won 15 games and led the National League with four shutouts. His most productive season came in 1960, when he finished with a 16–9 record, a 3.09 ERA and an All-Star berth.
In 1962, Buhl was traded to the Cubs after appearing in just one game for the Braves. He had 12 wins against 13 losses, a considerably better percentage than the 9th-place Cubs (59-103 .364) achieved overall that year.
He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966 in a deal which brought future Hall-of-Famer Ferguson Jenkins to Chicago.
in 1962, Buhl failed to get a hit in 70 at-bats. the worst single-season batting performance in major league history. (It was not an entirely fruitless season for Buhl at the plate, however, as he collected six bases-on-balls, scored two runs and had a stolen base. He was even credited with one run-batted-in (on a sacrifice fly) and seven sacrifice bunts, demonstrating that he could make contact occasionally, although he did strike out 36 times that season.) For his career, Buhl had a batting average of .089, with just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in 857 at-bats, for a slugging percentage of .091.
Buhl died in Titusville, Florida, just two days before his Braves roommate Eddie Mathews.
By Dean Hanley
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