Bubba Church

Emory Nicholas "Bubba" Church (September 12, 1924 – September 17, 2001) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1950-1952), Cincinnati Reds (1952-1953) and Chicago Cubs (1953-1955). He was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

In a six-season career, Church posted a 36–37 record with 274 strikeouts and a 3.37 ERA in 999.2 innings pitched.

During his rookie season, Church was playing a key role for the famed 1950 "Whiz Kids" Phillies in their fight for a pennant. He was an important member of a very young pitching staff, teaming with Robin Roberts, Curt Simmons, Bob Miller, and the dependable reliever Jim Konstanty. However, Church was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Cincinnati's Ted Kluszewski. The ball was hit so hard that it caromed into right field on the fly. A week later, he was out on the mound again to face the hard-hitting Dodgers, but after the game his season was over, and he did not play in the 1950 World Series. He finished 1950 at 8–6 with an ERA of 2.73 and two shutouts in 142 innings.

Church enjoyed his most productive season in 1951, when he collected career-highs in victories (15), strikeouts (104), shutouts (4) and innings (246), including a one-hitter over Pittsburgh. Early in the 1952 season, he was traded to the Reds. Church was 5–9 for Cincinnati, and 7–8 for the Reds and the Chicago Cubs in 1953. Two and a half more seasons with the Cubs, pitching only occasionally because of arm problems, brought his big league career to an end in 1955.

Church died at his home in Birmingham, Alabama, five days after reaching age 77.

By Dean Hanley

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